EARLY signs all positive as Luca Cumani begins his eighth successive bid for a Melbourne Cup, reports Racing Network.  Mount Athos, a luckless fifth behind Green Moon in last year's Melbourne Cup, impressed Cumani's wife Sara and jockey Craig Williams, who had his first ride today on the UK stayer today at Werribee quarantine centre.

Sara Cumani said international assistant Charlie Henson noted that Mount Athos has travelled and acclimatised better than any of their previous ventures.
"We're very happy," enthused Cumani. "The horse has travelled well, eaten better than ever. Charlie said this is the best international trip he has done in terms of how the horse has reacted to the flight. His weight is good, he looks good and he worked well."
Williams, who approached Cumani several months ago for the Cup ride, said Mount Athos gave him a good feel after working him over 1400 metres.
He said the seven-year-old worked sharply in his first major piece of work since he arrived six days ago.
"He was quite keen throughout the middle part of his work and he ran up really sharp times for a two miler," Williams said.
"You can see he has come off the plane bouncing and rearing to go."
Williams said he would return to ride Mount Athos a couple more times before the Cup.
He added that he doesn't believe that Mount Athos is a one-dimensional horse that needs to be ridden as far back as he was last year.
"I liked his run in the Melbourne Cup last year and I thought his first-up run this year at Chested when he made all the running that he had the versatility," he said.
"If the slow is run slow like it was last year it gives me the opportunity to ride him wherever he landed.