Cumani’s two wins in the prestigious autumn handicap may have come a long time ago, with Century City in 1982 and Dallas in 1986, but in Velox he has a horse with sound credentials.
Winner of the Coral Challenge over a mile at Sandown in July when his Cambridgeshire jockey, apprentice Cam Hardie, was in the saddle, the four-year-old warmed up for the big race when finishing third at Doncaster two weeks ago.
“He’s in good form. He had a good prep race at Doncaster, so we’re happy with that,” he said. “We’ve got an apprentice who’s won on him before. You never know with the draw, but he looks to have all the pluses.”
John Gosden has two fancied runners in ante-post favourite Cornrow and Maverick Wave, as he goes for his fourth win in the nine-furlong cavalry charge.
“Cornrow had just been getting too fresh. I was going to run him over a mile but the ground came up too soft so I ran him over seven, which was too sharp for him,” said the Newmarket trainer.
“He’d been off quite a time before this season after he messed himself up with a vertebra, but the track and ground will suit.
“Maverick Wave was a bit free the other day but has also been a bit fresh.
“They’re both nice horses and although I’m not saying they’re Halling (1994), Pipedreamer (2007) or Tazeez (2008), they’re where they belong in the weights.”
John Ryan’s concern is that Tenor is at the head of the handicap, but that is countered by the four-year-old being in such good form, having won his last two races. “It’s not ideal, turning up to the Cambridgeshire off top weight, but when you’ve got a horse who is in such good form and handles track, you’ve got to take your chance,” said the Newmarket trainer.
Educate is reported to be in tip-top shape as he attempts to follow-up last year’s victory in the historic handicap.
“The horse is in great order, I think he’s as good as we had him all year,” said Niall Collum, assistant to Ismail Mohammed.