There was to be no fairytale ending to Luca Cumani’s illustrious training career after his final runner had to make do with a fast-finishing second at Wolverhampton on Thursday evening.
The legendary Italian trainer announced last month he had decided to call it a day after 43 years at Bedford House Stables in Newmarket.
He confirmed earlier this week that Swansdown, carrying the colours of his family’s Fittocks Stud, would be the last horse he would saddle as a trainer and the youngster was a heavily-backed 6-5 favourite for the Ladbrokes, Bet £5 Get £20 Nursery.
Swansdown was in the rear for much of the extended nine-furlong journey and looked likely to be nearer last than first racing down the back straight, with Oisin Murphy hard at work long before the home turn.
However, the Dubawi filly really got rolling in the straight and in the end was beaten just three-quarters of a length by Roger Teal’s 7-1 Fitwood Star under Robert Winston.
Cumani, 69, told Press Association Sport: “It’s a shame we didn’t manage to go out on a winner, but it was only a little race and the important thing is that we managed to have a Group One winner in our final year (God Given won Premio Lydia Tesio at Capannelle earlier this month).
“This filly finished well. She is bred to appreciate further and I’m sure she’ll step up to a mile and a half next year.”
With Bedford House due to be sold early next year, Cumani and his wife Sara will move across Newmarket to live and work at Fittocks Stud.
Asked if it could take him a while to adjust, Cumani said: “It might do, but I’m lucky that I’ve got another job to go to and something else to focus on.
“We’re going to Australia in January, so we’ll move after that.”
Cumani’s countless big-race winners include two Epsom Derby heroes in Kahyasi (1988) and High-Rise (1998).
He also tasted British Classic success in the 1984 St Leger with Commanche Run, while Barathea was a Cumani star in the 1990s, winning the Irish 2,000 Guineas, the Queen Anne Stakes and the Breeders’ Cup Mile.
In more recent years, Cumani trained the popular Falbrav to win five Group One races, including the Eclipse, International and QEII.