Francesca Cumani to call Melbourne Cup from home in $1 million deal

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·Sports Reporter
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Francesca Cumani will not be attending the 2021 Melbourne Cup in person.
Francesca Cumani will appear on Channel 10's Melbourne Cup broadcast via Zoom after being prevented from travelling to Australia for the second year in a row. (Photo by Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images)

For the second year in a row, the global pandemic has prevented fan favourite racing caller Francesca Cumani from attending the Melbourne Cup in person.

She was last year prevented from travelling to Melbourne at the last minute after her father, well-known trainer Luca Cumani, contracted Covid-19 shortly before she was due to fly out.

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This year, border restrictions have again prevented her from travelling to Flemington - but the highly paid Channel 10 commentator will still cash in on this year's instalment of her reported five-year, $1 million deal with the network.

Cumani joined the network after making her name with Channel 7, a natural fit after 10 acquired the rights for the Melbourne Cup.

In a pre-recorded piece to camera, Cumani said she was devastated to miss out on seeing the race live once again.

“Hey everyone. I cannot believe it’s been 15 years since I came to my very first Melbourne Cup," she said. 

"I mean, the day absolutely blew me away. It’s like nothing I had ever experienced before. As a result, I had to keep coming back.

“That was until last year, when I wasn’t able to and then this year, again, I am truly gutted. I wish I was there, it’s my favourite day of the year. I cannot wait to see who wins this year’s Melbourne Cup.

“You will have to enjoy it for me.”

According to a report in The Australian, Channel 10 had hoped Cumani would also be able to fulfil hosting duties for Crown Oats and Mackinnon Stakes Day.

Instead, she has been limited to appearances via Zoom at both Tuesday's Melbourne Cup and the Victoria Derby last weekend.

Melbourne Cup rocked by devastating late drama

Future Score has been scratched from the Melbourne Cup on race morning in a devastating blow for the Irish horse's connections.

Two horses had to be vetted before Tuesday morning's scratching deadline, with Delphi and Future Score both under fitness clouds.

Both horses had lameness issues when Racing Victoria ran mandatory veterinary tests on all 24 runners on Monday.

Delphi was given the all-clear on Tuesday morning, however Future Score was scratched just one minute before the deadline.

Matt Cumani’s runner was reportedly cleared initially before being re-examined after the seven-year-old was found to have lameness in his off fore leg.

Trainer Matt Cumani was disappointed after his Melbourne Cup runner Future Score was scratched on the morning of the race. (Brett Holburt/Racing Photos via Getty Images)
Trainer Matt Cumani was disappointed after his Melbourne Cup runner Future Score was scratched on the morning of the race. (Brett Holburt/Racing Photos via Getty Images)

Cumani said he was bitterly disappointed by the decision and thought Future Score was fit to race.

"Just very sad for the owners of the horse, we thought he was a better chance than 200-1, he was really peaking for this week," Cumani said.

“I think there’s a lot of pressure on Racing Victoria to be ultra, ultra conservative. And for them it was a real margin call, it went down to 7.29am to make the decision.

“They decided to be ultra-cautious. I can understand their point of view when they don’t know a horse inside out."

Cumani said Future Score had presented the same way before winning the Cranbourne Cup last year.

"For me and my vet, who know him inside out, and know he presented in the same way going into the Cranbourne Cup, which he won convincingly, it’s a bit frustrating.

“He is a horse that’s consistent in his action and has been racing with that action for the past year and a half.

“Look, he was a 200-1 shot, but he was absolutely flying, he was peaking for this performance.”

Future Score was paying $151 to win the great race, with not much interest from punters after an underwhelming lead-up.

With AAP

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