Hero steps up to give Cumani cheer

Troubled trainer looks to greater glory at Goodwood

An unlikely hero has emerged from Luca Cumani's depleted ranks to carry the stable standard this summer. The former smart sprinter Arkad-ian Hero, reinvented as a miler, will be pitched in against Europe's élite in the Sussex Stakes at Goodwood on his first try at the new trip since his change of direction.

An unlikely hero has emerged from Luca Cumani's depleted ranks to carry the stable standard this summer. The former smart sprinter Arkad-ian Hero, reinvented as a miler, will be pitched in against Europe's élite in the Sussex Stakes at Goodwood on his first try at the new trip since his change of direction.

A bold show by the massive five-year-old in Wednesday's Group One contest, centrepiece of this week's five-day festival on top of the Sussex downs, would be a tremendous boost to Cumani's season. The year had a torrid dawn for the Newmarket-based Italian when the best horses under his care were removed by their owner, the Aga Khan, in January. Thirty of them went, including Daliapour and two Royal Ascot winners, Kalanisi and Dalampour.

Cumani, with two Derbies and numerous other prestigious races on his CV, is a man accustomed to playing at the top of racing's Premiership, and mid-table mediocrity, let alone dicing with relegation, galls. "The trouble was," he said, "when the horses went the timing was so bad. The sales were over and there was no time to regroup. And without the right players you can t stay at the top."

The Aga Khan's reason for his spat with Cumani - dissatisfaction with the trainer's procedures over accidental positive drug tests - have been well documented, and the trainer bears the horses he lost no grudges. Daliapour, in particular, will always be one of his favourites.

A presence at the top is more than a matter of just the prize money; as important is the perception of a training business in the eyes of owners. Those patrons other than the Aga Khan have remained loyal, but new ones will be needed to keep squad numbers up.

Cumani did not send a single runner to Royal Ascot, but his campaign has shown signs of a revival since that nadir. Endless Hall, winner of a Group One race in Italy, showed himself a horse of underestimated ability by giving weight and a beating to Beat All at Ayr, and an autumn campaign beckons.

But before that Arkadian Hero has the chance to put the spotlight back on his trainer's talent and revive morale in the Bedford House yard. Cum-ani admits he has been playing it wrong for two years with the horse, who has not tackled a mile since he came in among the also-rans behind King Of Kings in the 1998 2,000 Guin-eas. The son of the Arc winner Trempolino, he is a strong, powerful individual, looks like a sprinter and ran like one in his Classic, but in Group One company was not fast enough for the minimum trip and always only a nearly horse over six furlongs: third in the Haydock Sprint Cup and twice fourth in the July Cup.

He showed his appreciation of not being taken off his feet by the best speed-merchants with an impressive, win when stepped up to seven furlongs in the Criterion Stakes at his local track, Newmarket, early this month, producing his sprinter's burst of acceleration to extricate himself from trouble and cut down his admittedly inferior rivals. It was Cumani's first domestic Pattern winner of the season.

"I had always thought that he probably did want further than six furlongs," said his trainer, "but he had been doing well enough as a sprinter, so we didn't dare change what had been a fairly successful formula. It was a bit of a blind alley, though, and after the Duke of York Stakes in May, when he finished fourth, running on, the decision to change direction was made."

Cumani acknowledges that Arkadian Hero and his young Irish jockey, Jamie Spencer, face a huge task on Wednesday against last year's winner, Aljabr, and other possible rivals such as the Eclipse winner, Giant's Causeway, and the star filly Crimplene. The chestnut has been looking the part on the Newmarket gallops but then, says his trainer, he always does: "He has always been an ebullient horse and has never lacked belief in himself. He didn't need confidence. But what that race did was to give it to me."

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: PHP / Drupal / SaaS Developer

£32000 - £36000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A rapidly developing company in...

Ashdown Group: Application Architect/Developer - Peterborough

Negotiable: Ashdown Group: Application Architect/Developer - Peterborough, Cam...

Ashdown Group: C# Developer - (C#, VB.Net, SQL, Git, TDD)

Negotiable: Ashdown Group: Developer (C#, VB & ASP.Net, SQL Server, TSQL) - Pe...

Ashdown Group: Business Relationship Manager

Negotiable: Ashdown Group: Business Relationship Manager - Enfield, North Lond...

Day In a Page

Woman who was sent to three Nazi death camps describes how she escaped the gas chamber

Auschwitz liberation 70th anniversary

Woman sent to three Nazi death camps describes surviving gas chamber
DSK, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel

The inside track on France's trial of the year

Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel:
As provocative now as they ever were

Sarah Kane season

Why her plays are as provocative now as when they were written
Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of a killing in Iraq 11 years ago

Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of another killing

Japanese mood was against what was seen as irresponsible trips to a vicious war zone
Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea