The one thing horseracing commentator Francesca Cumani leaves at home   Leave a comment

The one thing horseracing commentator Francesca Cumani leaves at home

Global racing expert Francesca Cumani knows all the hot tracks.

Francesca Cumani names the Hong Kong Cup as one of the most unmissable racing events of the year.
Francesca Cumani names the Hong Kong Cup as one of the most unmissable racing events of the year.

Horseracing commentator Francesca Cumani is based in the NSW town of Scone with her Australian husband, champion polo player Rob Archibald. Cumani, who is fluent in four languages, is renowned for her knowledge of horses and racing. She has roles with CNN, Network Seven and Magic Millions. She also has a share in two mares and three racehorses, one of which has travelled from France to Australia to contest the Cox Plate on Saturday, October 24.

How many international flights do you take in a year? 

Anywhere up to 50. I do 15 CNN destinations a year for my show, The Winning Post, meaning 30 international flights for that role alone. I fly with so many different airlines I don’t have a massive amount of points with any one carrier; I have the most with Qantas – maybe 200,000 or so.

Palio di Siena horserace in Siena, Italy.
Palio di Siena horserace in Siena, Italy. Reuters

Which international race meets are unmissable and which are your favourite places to stay?

Hong Kong’s big international races [like the Hong Kong Cup]; I stay at the East Hotel on Taikoo Shing Road in Quarry Bay. I never miss Royal Ascot in June and have the luxury of staying at home. When I’m in town for the Kentucky Derby in May, I stay at my friend Rosie Hundley’s Saxony Stud Farm near Lexington.

Which smaller events do you try not to miss? 

Goodwood races in West Sussex in the United Kingdom. And I try to catch the Palio Di Siena in Italy, where 10 horses and riders race bareback. In Australia, I take part in the Bob Skene Polo League in Scone at the end of April each year. I try to be at as many polo matches as possible when my husband is playing. The Garangula Polo Club, near Canberra, is my favourite.

BOSS caught you between flights at Keeneland in September. What were you doing there?

As part of my role with Magic Millions I was at the Keeneland Sales with Katie and Gerry Harvey. Like Magic Millions, Keeneland hosts a race meet with one of its signature sales, the Keeneland September Yearling Sale, which is the largest in the world.

Last year, Katie’s Magic Millions Racing Women concept was introduced into the UK. A similar event was hosted with Keeneland, with the most influential North American women in thoroughbred horseracing in attendance, including Barbara Banke [Jackson Family Wines], Patricia Hughes [wife of billionaire Wayne Hughes] and Ramona Bass [businesswoman and philanthropist.]

You’ll be in town soon for the Melbourne Cup. How many have you attended and what’s your best tip?

This will be my 10th straight Melbourne Cup (Wow!). I stay at The Lyall in South Yarra and love to eat at Café Gaia, Caffe e Cucina and Movidas.

My tip: look for an improving horse that’s not carrying too much weight.

Then in January 2016, you’ll be at the biggest-ever Magic Millions sales and racing carnival.

Yes; 2016 will be my fifth Magic Millions Carnival and next year it will become Australia’s richest raceday, with $10 million in prizemoney. I stay at the Marriott Resort & Spa and always try to get to the beach. I also try to enjoy a few meals in at Omeros Bros at the Marina Mirage.

You got married last year and now call Scone home. Favourite local spots?

I’m totally biased but I think my husband’s family farm, about 35 minutes from Scone, is one of the most beautiful places in the world so I recommend friends come and stay with us! The Linga Longa pub down the road in Gundy is a favourite, mainly because of the name.

When you both need to recharge the batteries, where do you head?

My parents have a gorgeous house in Tuscany called La Civettaia. We actually got engaged and married there. Rob adores the sea, so for him, our recent holiday on the island of Syros in Greece was heaven.

TRIP EXTRAS: two things you never travel without

My R. M. Williams jodhpur boots. They are tough enough to wear when filming at stud farms, yet smart enough to look good on camera.

When testing out horses, my helmet and body protector for track riding. Best to leave the whip at home, to save questioning!

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Posted October 6, 2015 by belesprit09 in Uncategorized

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