Melbourne Cup 2016: Matt Cumani trusts mum Sara knows best with Grey Lion

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Matt Cumani-trained Grey Lion enjoys a morning at the beach ahead of the Melbourne Cup. Photo: Jason SouthWizard of Odds: Live Odds, Form and Alerts for all RacingDownloadable Melbourne Cup sweep
Nanjing Night Net

Sara Cumani knows all about the Melbourne Cup. She knows the passion. She knows the heartbreak.

Her family has been part of the Melbourne Cup for 10 years and husband Luca, one of Europe’s great trainers, has been close to touching the Cup – Purple Moon and Bauer both finished second and Mount Athos was a third placegetter.

This year she is back with the next generation of the family, hoping Grey Lion can produce “a miracle” for son Matt, who is continuing the tradition.

“Everything has gone well, so we are just waiting for our hearts to be broken again by running second on Cup day,” Sara Cumani joked. “It is a race we have been so close to winning and for Matt to have a runner in his first year is exciting. It is life-changing stuff if a miracle happens.”

For the 35-year-old trainer it is a case of mum knows best as he trusts her with the preparation of his Cup runner, just like his father did.

“I’m there for the main gallops but to have someone with the horse all the time who has done it before is a big advantage,” Matt said. “She knows the procedures and processes. She knows the horse.”

Sara’s family have been a centre for attention around Cup time, both due to Luca’s training efforts and daughter Francesca’s media work.

Sara has always been in the background organising the horses in quarantine since 2007 when Purple Moon was runner-up to Efficient.

Matt Cumani had trained in the best stables around the world before finishing his schooling at Chris Waller’s stable in Sydney.

“I still have 35 [horses] in work at Ballarat but with mum at Werribee I don’t have to worry about Grey Lion,” he said. “When we talk about the horse I know exactly what she means, it makes my job a lot easier.”

Grey Lion was purchased late in the year by Terry Henderson’s OTI Racing as an outside Melbourne Cup prospect with a future in Australia and was given to Matt Cumani after he found a couple of clients.

So when Grey Lion arrived at Cumanis’ Newmarket yard, Sara took control of getting it ready for the long trip to Australia.

“He was with us in our stables at Newmarket for two or three weeks before he went into quarantine. Luca took a look at him and evaluated him,” Sara said. “Our lads rode him and galloped him. We worked him three times and they loved him and said ‘why are you sending him to Australia, keep him here’.”

Grey Lion has gone to another level since arriving in Australia. He was a brave second in the Geelong Cup to Qewy, beating home Oceanographer, which franked in the Lexus Stakes on Saturday.

“To go so close to winning the Geelong Cup was exciting but then I realised I had a Melbourne Cup runner and I had to pinch myself,” Matt said. “Dad has been out here and gone so close, and I know how tough it is just to get there.

“I’m very happy with the horse and mum is happy with him, which is more important because she has been spending a lot of time with him.”

So what are the chances of a Cumani finally winning the Melbourne Cup this year? Sara said Grey Lion is unlike any horse they have travelled before.

“One thing that has changed this time is that we have always had a struggle with horses eating and this horse has done nothing but eat, which is good for a travelling horse,” Sara said.

“This horse has never missed a beat, whereas others that have come here before have been a bit tricky with eating.

“He has done nothing but please us. We have a live chance of a horse running well.”

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This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.