Sport : Horse Racing

Koukash bullish over Athos Cup bid

3rd November 2012, 11:24am

Mount Athos: Well drawn in the Melbourne Cup

Mount Athos: Well drawn in the Melbourne Cup

Dr Marwan Koukash could hardly have been in a more buoyant mood than when receiving an ideal draw for Mount Athos in Tuesday's Emirates Melbourne Cup.

The Liverpool-based businessman, famed for his love of Chester races, shares a similar passion for the Cup with Mount Athos' trainer Luca Cumani.

Brought to Cumani with Flemington in mind, his charge has swept to victory in all his three starts in Britain this season and will break from stall eight under Ryan Moore.

"It couldn't have been better, he needs a bit of cover and if he comes to the home straight four or five off the lead I will be over the moon as he has an explosive turn of foot," he said.

"When he won at York he had a weight of 65 kilos, and here he has 54. That's a lot."

Explaining a little more about his desire to lift the race, Koukash said: "The turn of foot he showed in the race at York made me think he could be a Melbourne Cup winner.

"I get excited about it. Three years ago I had a runner with Munsef. I dreamed of having a runner but then it became a nightmare because I then had to find a horse who could win.

"I saw this horse two years ago winning the Melrose at York and I thought then that he could be a future Melbourne winner."

He went on: "Chester is my home ground but this is a race I dream about. When I sent the horse to Luca I said 'I want to win two races, the Chester Cup and the Melbourne Cup'.

"Unfortunately there were storms before Chester in May and we pulled him out but Luca said 'we failed to deliver the first race, but we won't fail to deliver the second target'."

Interestingly, the owner said he was looking into keeping horses trained in Australia, along with his substantial British empire, having spent time in the country last Christmas.

"I'm meeting a trainer next week and I'd love to have horses here - maybe not right away, but it might happen," he said.

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