Europe kudos grows

WIN or lose, the Europeans will keep coming back to try to win the Melbourne Cup.

Trainer Luca Cumani has been coming for five years and this year he brought his new owner Marwan Koukash and his horse Mount Athos with him. Mount Athos finished a creditable fifth and whetted Koukash's appetite for more.

A Palestinian refugee who has become a successful businessman in England, Koukash embraced the carnival with a passion and said he is now determined to become a major player.

''I will absolutely come back,'' Koukash said.

''As long as I'm involved in racing one of the very first races I will aim my horses for will be the Melbourne Cup. It is the biggest sporting show on earth and we are just very, very honoured to be part of it.''

Koukash said Mount Athos would come back with, hopefully, a couple of others.


''I have Montaser, a promising colt in England, and another young horse, a two-year-old, and we will bring more horses for the Cox Plate.

''This is going to be an annual event for me.''

Marco Botti fared best of the Europeans, with Jakkalberry coming third, and said he would also be back.

The young Italian, who has emerged on the world scene in the past year or so, was on his first visit.

''Jakkalberry ran a great race,'' he said. ''We will be back next year. Maybe not with Jakkalberry but definitely we will come back.''