Imported stayer Grey Lion is guaranteed a start in the Melbourne Cup.
The withdrawal of overseas visitor Scottish on Wednesday means the Ballarat-trained Grey Lion is safely inside the top 24 cut-off.
Grey Lion has moved to 23 in ballot order.
With Lexus Stakes at Flemington on Saturday offering the last ballot-free spot into Melbourne Cup, Grey Lion cannot drop outside the field limit.
Cumani, who is in his first year as a trainer, described the news as “fantastic”.
He said while he and owner OTI Racing had been confident that Grey Lion would get a run once he was at 24, it was great to be certain this far out from Tuesday.
England-based Goldophin trainer Chris Appleby confirmed on Wednesday that Caulfield Cup runner-up Scottish, which was 11 in the ballot order, would miss the Melbourne Cup and instead run in the $2m Emirates Stakes at Flemington the following Saturday.
Cumani said with a start now a lock-in for Grey Lion, he could finalise the five-year-old’s preparation with certainty.
He said Grey Lion would have his last serious trackwork on Friday, with leading jockey Craig Newitt taking the ride at the Werribee International Horse Centre.
Newitt is among jockeys in the running to get the Melbourne Cup ride on Grey Lion.
Cumani said Glen Boss was another under consideration, but he would wait until after the field was finalised on Saturday before making an engagement.
Cumani said Grey Lion had not missed a beat since his close second in the Geelong Cup on October 19 – his first Australian start. “He’s so easy to train.”
He said Grey Lion was 100 per cent and it would be matter now of whether he was good enough.
MEANWHILE, Darren Weir’s hopes of back-to-back Melbourne Cup victories now appear to rest with West Australian-owned mare Real Love.
Weir’s other contender Howard Be Thy Name took a major blow when he finished unplaced in Wednesday’s Bendigo Cup.
Weir told The Courier earlier this week that Howard Be Thy Name performance in Bendigo would decide whether he headed to the Melbourne Cup.
“He’d have to be dominant,” he said.
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.