Report: Newbury, Saturday
Betfred 'The Bonus King' Geoffrey Freer Stakes (Group 3) 1m5½f, 3yo+
The market got it right in the end as 5-4 favourite Mount Athos comfortably landed what looked an intriguing Group 3 for Luca Cumani and Ryan Moore, beating main rival Brown Panther with Modun back in third.
The St Leger winner Masked Marvel was once again disappointing back in fourth spot.
This victory was Moore's 100th this season, while the winner was given a 14-1 quote by Ladbrokes for the Melbourne Cup, while Paddy Power go 12-1 with BetVictor shorter at 10-1.
Winning owner Marwan Koukash watched Mount Athos's victory from his beloved Chester, dashing to find a tv screen just minutes after seeing Mandy Layla make all on the Roodee.
"Melbourne here we come!" he said. "That was fantastic, beating Group 1 horses. I always had confidence in him. He will go into quarantine and go to Australia early."
The winner was continuing the tremendous run of his in-form stable - indeed this was Cumani's fourth win in a row following his hat-trick at Newmarket the previous night - and he was simply too good for Brown Panther with Moore always in the right place off what was a strong gallop set by Masked Marvel's pacemaker, Dartford.
Moore explained afterwards that the victory was easier than it looked. "It was a tough race," he said. "They went off quite hard and we were racing from a long way out. I was in front sooner than I'd wanted."
However, by that stage Moore and Mount Athos had the race won with the gelding's turn of foot proving superior. He looks the right type for Melbourne with his blend of speed and stamina and Cumani has as good a record down under as any British trainer.
Mount Athos has already gone up 13lb under Cumani's tutelage this term and a further assessment from the handicapper should be expected.
Cumani, who was stuck in gridlock on the M25 and couldn't make it to Newbury in time to see the race, said: "I listened to it and it sounded like an ideal prep for Melbourne.
"If he goes up to 53.5kg, from the 52.5kg he was given, that'd be okay. I'm just worried he'll go up more."