Cumani unveils new recruit
Luca Cumani unleashes yet another unknown quantity on British racegoers as German recruit Ibicenco in the JLT Aston Park Stakes at Newbury.
The son of Shirocco quickly developed into a Pattern-class middle distance performer with Jens Hirschberger, rounding off his campaign with an excellent second to Campanologist in the Preis Von Europa.
He has been acquired by OTI Racing, an Australian syndicate which prioritises runners in the Melbourne Cup.
Cumani himself has fallen in love with 'the race that stops a nation' and won this Listed heat last year with Drunken Sailor, who later ran in the Cup.
"We're happy with what he has shown us at home," said Cumani, who regularly improves horses arriving from different backgrounds.
"We don't know him that well as he only joined us in the winter, so at this stage I think it's quite difficult to gauge quite how good he is.
"He seems to be training well and he has done everything we have asked him to do."
Regarding the Melbourne Cup, Cumani said: "Obviously that's a long way away, but I would imagine it would be on his agenda."
The extended mile-and-five-furlong Listed race has attracted just five runners with two, Nehaam and Hawaafez, representing Hamdan Al Maktoum.
The latter, who is in the care of Marcus Tregoning, took a while to find her feet in handicaps last season but finished up in the best possible fashion when bolting up at Newmarket in late October.
Tregoning said: "She ended off on a good note and she's in decent form. It's a hike up in grade so we don't know if she's going to be good enough, but she certainly goes there fit and well."
John Gosden's Nehaam, who is now six, rose through the handicap ranks and ended up taking fourth behind Fame And Glory in the Qipco British Champions Long Distance Cup.
Andrew Balding's Dreamspeed returns after a long absence while Tom Dascombe's Junoob and Rebecca Curtis' Meganisi complete the field.