Francesca Cumani has been on maternity leave since giving birth to son Teddy in May

Francesca Cumani is returning to Australia – and back to the tabloid frenzy | Horse Racing News

Edward Whitaker

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Francesca Cumani has been on maternity leave since giving birth to son Teddy in May

Edward Whitaker

Francesca Cumani will return to Australia to head Channel 10’s coverage of the Melbourne Cup despite revealing she won’t be seen on British television screens until the start of the 2023 Flat turf season.

Cumani, who has been absent from ITV Racing’s coverage of this year’s Flat season after the birth of her second son, Teddy, in May, was speaking to the Racing Post for a major interview in Sunday’s newspaper in which she discusses female rivalry, imposter syndrome and the key role played by the Melbourne Cup in her TV career.

From October 29, the 39-year-old broadcaster will be on duty for Australia’s Channel 10, even though she has no plans to appear on ITV Racing in Britain during the winter.

“If I had given birth to Teddy during the jumps season, I would have taken shorter maternity leave and come back for the Flat season,” she said. “I feel like I have more purpose on the Flat.”

Cumani has become a major name in Australia, having first become part of the Melbourne Cup coverage in 2007 when she was there as her father Luca’s “travelling foreman”, to the extent that she finds herself the subject of tabloid articles “all the time”.

“I suppose it comes with the territory,” she said. “Perhaps the fact it doesn’t happen as much here as in Australia is a reflection of where racing stands in wider society.

‘A lot of it is made up’

“I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve been featured in a magazine in the lead-up to Royal Ascot or the Grand National, whereas in Australia that would happen all the time.

“Racing is more part of the national consciousness in Australia. That means someone like me is better known over there, which also means it’s more likely someone will write a story about my personal life.

“I’ve learned over the years to separate myself from it. I know what’s real and who my friends are. You realise when reading things about yourself that a lot of it is made up.

“When I joined Channel 10 there was a big story in one of the papers about how much I was getting paid. It was completely untrue. You have to learn to take everything with a pinch of salt. I’ve got a pretty thick skin and have learned not to worry about what people think.”

Read more from Francesca Cumani in The Big Read, available in Sunday’s newspaper or online for Members’ Club Ultimate subscribers from 6pm on Saturday. Click here to sign up

The jumps season is coming! Pick up your copy of The Big Jump Off, packed with everything you need to get you excited for the 2022-23 National Hunt season. Free in the Racing Post on Monday, October 17, it’s got 72 pages of unbeatable content including ante-post tips, guest columnists, divisional analysis and much more. You can order your copy from the Racing Post shop here.

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