Trainer Matt Cumani (Image: Racing Photos)
BY MICHAEL MANLEY
Matt Cumani admits to having a fascination with the Lexus Melbourne Cup and almost an obsession with it.
Cumani though doesn’t see him being any different to any Australian trainer and for that matter any overseas trainer.
“It’s a special race. It’s a hard race to win. It’s a hard race to get a runner in,” Cumani said.
The Ballarat trainer craves being involved in a Lexus Melbourne Cup and he’s still got two horses trying to get in this year, which are international recruit San Huberto, and the recent Cranbourne Cup winner in Future Score.
San Huberto is 31st in the Lexus Melbourne Cup order of entry and Future Score still needs to qualify.
“Trying to win a Melbourne Cup is a challenge and any sports person is up for that. I’m definitely looking for a runner in it every year,” Cumani said.
Cumani’s father Luca was a regular visitor for the Melbourne Cup and twice he trained horses which were beaten in photos in the race, Purple Moon (2007) and Bauer (2008).
Cumani said his father’s efforts were fantastic in the race but he wasn’t motivated by that in trying to win a Lexus Melbourne Cup.
“I don’t think it would have made a difference in terms of the Melbourne Cup whether I had a father who trained two seconds in it. It’s just a great race which every trainer wants to win.”
Cumani has had one runner in the Lexus Melbourne Cup which was Grey Lion who finished 14th in 2016.
Despite winning the Cranbourne Cup last Sunday but in terms of getting a run in the Lexus Melbourne Cup it didn’t change anything for him as Racing Victoria’s chief handicapper Greg Carpenter elected not to penalise Future Score. The Cranbourne Cup win also didn’t qualify him for the race.
Cumani said he will try and get him into the Lexus Melbourne Cup by winning the Lexus Hotham Handicap at Flemington on October 31 which carries a ballot exemption for the winner.
“He likes his runs spaced and he doesn’t like firm tracks. We’ll get him to the Hotham and then if he won we’d work out what to do then,” he said.
“He’s been a very progressive horse ever since he joined my stable. He’s improved all the time.”
The other horse Cumani is trying to get into the Melbourne Cup is the former French galloper San Huberto, who is also owned by OTI Racing.
Cumani is hoping San Huberto will gain a start in the Caulfield Cup, a race in which he is second emergency. If he didn’t get in, Cumani said he would run in the Geelong Cup next Wednesday where he had booked Damien Oliver to ride.
Cumani went to Werribee to watch the former French galloper work on Tuesday morning and was pleased with what he saw.
“He’s an athletic type with a great action. He also has a strong pedigree,” he said.
Cumani was also aiming his talented stayer Creedence at the Lexus Melbourne Cup, but after a discussion with his connections they decided not to pay up for him on Tuesday.
He said Creedence would be aimed at country Cups and possibly the Lexus Hotham Handicap, which was an ideal race for him.