Ballarat trainer Matt Cumani sees shades of the 2012 winner Manighar in his Australian Cup contender San Huberto.
Manighar ran in two Melbourne Cups for Cumani’s father Luca before staying in Australia to join the Peter Moody stable at the end of 2011.
The grey won the Australian Cup at his third start for Moody before going on to win the Group 1 Ranvet Stakes at The BMW during a lucrative Sydney campaign eight years ago.
Cumani had only raced San Huberto in two staying contests last spring. But he saw enough to convince him to try to follow the Manighar lead in San Huberto’s autumn campaign.
“We’ve seen it in the past, particularly with one of my father’s horses Manighar,” Cumani said.
“He was as dour as you could get in the UK but came down here and could perform at the top level, over a mile or even shorter.
“San Huberto was always thought of as a 3200m or a distance horse but we were keen to put across to the owners that he could appreciate a shorter distance in Australia.
“It was a bit of a long shot I suppose but I was very happy to give it a go.”
Cumani’s hunch almost brought a first-up win in the Listed Mornington Cup Prelude over 2000m at Caulfield last month.
San Huberto raced handy to the speed before fighting on well to finish second to the in-form Defibrillate at Caulfield.
Cumani said a good speed and firm ground gave San Huberto the chance to produce a similar effort in the $1.5 million Australian Cup.
“That last race really impressed me, even though it was a completely different level to this Saturday,” Cumani said.
“But the way he was able to show enough speed, hang on and come back at the line again in a first-up race was really encouraging.”
Dean Yendall will ride San Huberto in the Australian Cup.
San Huberto is a $23 chance to win the Australian Cup but the race has had its share of upsets in recent years.
Credit: Brad Waters at Punters.com