Cumani on home ground

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The Independent Online
In the mid-1980s, when houses were beginning to store up something called negative equity, a more rewarding investment presented itself annually at Glorious Goodwood: Luca Cumani's runner in the Extel Handicap.

The Italian trainer's reputation as a shrewd operator (not one he dissuades people from believing) was forged principally on the back of three consecutive victories in the competitive race via Free Guest, Fish 'N' Chips and Chinoiserie.

Much has happened since (not least frequent changes in the title of the former Extel, which is now the clumsy Volvo Truck Finance Spitfire Stakes). Cumani's spectrum has gone from Derby and Breeders' Cup wins with Kahyasi and Barathea respectively to the departure from his yard of the Aga Khan's horses.

Memories of a decade ago will well up today below Trundle Hill as Cumani has a runner which appears to have been laid out for the race. TRIQUETTI (nap 3.10) runs in a handicap for the first time and is not far removed from a mark which Cumani might have chosen. At Leicester in June the colt was under a length behind Tenorio, who went on to win at York off a rating of 98. As Triquetti, who comes from a stable that was victorious at Goodwood yesterday, is on 96 here his chance is obvious.

The Molecomb Stakes should go to Baize (4.15), who is improving, a remark which also applies to Son Of Sharp Shot, who contests the previous race. John Dunlop's horse was a moderate performer to the point last season when he won a handicap off a mark of 63. Five consecutive successes have come since and he now goes in against Listed company off 98. He must run well but preference is for Wishing (3.45), who has been revitalised by a move to Reg Akehurst.

The contest that is most difficult to fathom is the opener. Among those to consider are Roderick Hudson (as long as he is ridden close to the pace) and Actual Fact, even though he has risen in the weights without winning. The value, though, lies with a horse with unheralded connections, Montserrat (next best 2.30). The Gerald Cottrell-trained, Gary Bardwell- ridden filly, who has been running well in competitive handicaps.

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