Cumani pair chase Bagot success

31 December 2022 Written by Racing & Sports

Matt Cumani will saddle two runners in the time-honoured Bagot Handicap at Flemington on New Year’s Day.

A let-up with the view of tackling autumn staying races with Nobel Heights has been put on the backburner for now by trainer Matt Cumani. 

Instead, Nobel Heights will join stablemate Team Captain in the Listed Bagot Handicap (2800m) at Flemington on Sunday. 

Nobel Heights has been racing in career best form, but unfortunately for Cumani, and connections, the five-year-old has finished runner-up in his past three starts. 

After chasing home Kissinger at Cranbourne on November 12, Nobel Heights finished second to that galloper in the Listed Pakenham Cup (2500m) on December 3 before Persan had the better of him in the Listed JRA Trophy (2600m) at Flemington two weeks later. 

"I was half-thinking of giving him a little bit of let-up and bringing him back for the early autumn types of races, but he's going so well," Cumani said. 

"So, I thought it would be silly to skip out on an opportunity to run in a race like the Bagot. 

"But there's Persan, that beat him last time, and a couple of others that will give him a run, but you can't fault the way he has gone in his last three of starts and hopefully he can keep doing that and maybe steal a win." 

A four-time winner from 16 starts, Cumani said Nobel Heights has kept improving with every start. 

Cumani had even worried that Nobel Heights may have been a one-paced stayer, but in chasing Persan at his most recent start he ran some sectionals that disproved that theory. 

Being a son of Melbourne Cup winner Fiorente, Cumani hopes Nobel Heights will keep improving, but is likely to resist the temptation of heading to the Group 2 Adelaide Cup (3200m) in March. 

"What I would love to do is see whether he is good enough to head to The Roy Higgins (2800m in March), but now that that race is a Melbourne Cup win and you're in, it might make it quite tough," Cumani said. 

"But if he keeps improving, that is where I would like to go, so we'll have to see about that." ad

While Cumani will resist stepping Nobel Heights out to 3200m in the immediate future, the trainer cannot wait to get Team Captain back up to that distance. 

Team Captain finished a narrow second to Gin Martini in the Listed Sandown Cup (3200m) at Caulfield on November 26 at his last start. 

"I'm keen to keep going with him and not give him a long spell and have a go at races like the Adelaide Cup and potentially the Sydney Cup if he shows himself to be good enough," Cumani said. 

"We gave him a little let-up and tried not let him get too fat, but he is a horse that does carry a bit of a belly and is possibly a bit big. 

"I think 2800 metres is possibly a bit short and he can potentially run well, but I think he needs every yard of 3200 and that's when he really excels."