Mount Athos will have his final start before the Emirates Melbourne Cup when bidding to erase the memory of two forgettable runs this season in the March Stakes at Goodwood in the early hours of Sunday morning. Dr Marwan Koukash’s grey silks thundered down the Flemington straight last November, only for the line to appear too soon and the Luca Cumani-trained six-year-old finished just fifth under Ryan Moore.

Matters have not been entirely straightforward on home soil this year either with his silky-smooth debut Chester win followed by a fifth-place finish in the stop-start Group 2 Hardwicke Stakes (2400m) and a mid-field effort from the rear in the Goodwood Cup (3200m).

But connections are hoping for better in the 2816-metre Listed event, due off at 1.40am (AET) Sunday, in which Mount Athos will face six rivals and be ridden for the first time by Richard Hughes.

Cumani said: “Last season really was a good one for him with three wins on the bounce before his effort in the Melbourne Cup.

“We decided to run in the Goodwood Cup this time rather than the Geoffrey Freer, which he won last year, and he will now start in the March Stakes before going back to Melbourne.

“We will start planning his trip after the weekend and we are hoping he runs well.”

Click to view Mount Athos' International Profile, including replays of his three runs this campaign.

Cumani has taken the March Stakes in two of the last three years with My Quest For Peace winning last year before running tenth in the Cup. Drunken Sailor was beaten at odds-on the previous year after winning in 2010 prior to his Spring Carnival trip.

Mount Athos is joint top-rated in the race alongside Harris Tweed who scored on the Sussex Downs when last seen with William Haggas’s galloper inflicting a six-length defeat on seasonal debutant Camborne, who reopposes for the John Gosden yard.

Godolphin, fresh from last weekend’s success with Cup hope Royal Empire, are represented by Songcraft with Charlie Hills saddling Model Pupil after his down-the-field effort behind Royal Empire at Newbury.

Last year’s Cup form is also represented by Tac De Boistron as the six-year-old makes his debut for Marco Botti having been off the track since finishing 23rd behind Green Moon last November, while Jehannedarc has her fifth start for Red Cadeaux’s handler Ed Dunlop having formerly been trained inFrance by Alain De Royer-Dupre. (