Racing: Cumani presents strong challenge in quest for Cup

Quest For Peace will join stablemate Mount Athos as part of a strong, two-pronged assault trainer Luca Cumani will mount in Australia as he attempts to win the Melbourne Cup for the first time.

Cumani has come close to winning Australia's most famous race in the past with both Bauer and Purple Moon, and Quest For Peace was confirmed to join Mount Athos in heading to Flemington after winning the listed March Stakes at Goodwood yesterday.

Cumani's wife and assistant, Sara, told the Racing Post: "They are both going there. Quest For Fame is a really exciting horse. They go into quarantine on September 6 and the owners of this one would like to see him run in the Caulfield Cup first.

"What is great news is that Richard [Hughes] said, 'You can put himwhere you want and switch him off,' which will be ideal for the Melbourne Cup."

A trip Downunder could also be on the agenda for Willing Foe after his neck win in the Betfred Ebor at York.

Trainer Saeed Bin Suroor said: "We will keep options open for the future but a mile and six-plus [2800m] would be best for him. The Melbourne Cup is one of the options.

"We also have Cavalryman, Lost In The Moment and Colour Vision. As we come close to quarantine time we will decide. Usually we choose two to take there."

New South Wales mare Ortensia's stirring last-to-first win in the Nunthorpe Stakes at York yesterday won't catapult her to the Australian International Racehorse of the Year for several reasons.

First, Ortensia's second international group one win - the mare won the Al Quoz on Dubai World Cup night in March - fell outside the season deadline.

But, more importantly, the Australian International Racehorse of the Year has been deleted from next month's Australian Racehorse of the Year celebrations.

Remarkably, it was culled in 2009 and there's no suggestion it will be reinstated any time soon, reports the Herald Sun.

Even if there were a category for the best Australian international performer, odds are Ortensia would be relegated behind Black Caviar.

After all, it's hard to imagine Black Caviar's Royal Ascot triumph would be trumped by Ortensia winning in Dubai.

It is a moot point.

What it should not do, however, is take away from the sensational performance of Paul Messara, who has prepared Ortensia to win three group ones in three different countries in the past nine months.

Ortensia won the Winterbottom Stakes in Perth, then travelled to the United Arab Emirates to claim the Al Quoz, after which she headed to England, where Messara has managed to keep the mare performing at the elite level.

In the past month, she has won the group two King George Stakes at Goodwood, which was topped only by her stunning win in the Nunthorpe, and, this from a 7-year-old mare.

Such was the explosive finishing burst of Ortensia in the Nunthorpe it moved jockey William Buik to enthuse that never before had he ridden a horse that could go through so many gears over 1000m.

Buik rated Ortensia as the best 1000m horse he had ridden. All credit must go to Messara for an extraordinary training performance.

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