Former Melbourne Cup winner Americain is the top-rated of the nine gallopers nominated for the 2011 Zipping Classic, early entries for the race formerly known as the Sandown Classic taken by Racing Victoria on Monday.
Set to run on the final day of the Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival at Betfair Park Sandown Hillside this Saturday, the $350,000 Group 2 Zipping Classic (2400m) may have attracted a small number of nominees but the feature is shaping up as a beauty.
Having run a game fourth when defending their Melbourne Cup title last start, Alain de Royer Dupre’s French stayer Americain has pulled up in great shape and is ready to see out the spring with a Sandown win.
Also coming off a game Melbourne Cup performance is fellow Zipping Classic hopeful Manighar, the Luca Cumani-trained European to remain in Australia to see out their career under the preparation of leading Victorian trainer Peter Moody after Saturday’s run.
Manighar finished fifth in this year’s Melbourne Cup, before which then ran fourth in the Caulfield Cup over the Zipping Classic distance of 2400 metres.
Melbourne Cup scratching Mourayan has also been confirmed for the Zipping Classic this weekend after missing out on their chance in the world’s richest handicap having been withdrawn on the morning of the Cup.
The Lloyd Williams-owned stallion was last seen finishing a close second to Glass Harmonium in the Group 1 Mackinnon Stakes (2000m) having earlier beat home a quality field in the Listed The Bart Cummings (2500m) at Flemington on October 2.
“He’s perfect and all things being equal we’ll run him in the Zipping Classic,” co-owner Nick Williams said.
Lloyd Williams will be vying for his sixth Sandown Classic success having first taken out the feature with Legible in 2003 before crowd favourite Zipping saluted four years in a row form 2007 – 2010.
Other notable stayers entered for the Zipping Classic 2011 include David Vandyke’s in-form Commands gelding Lamasery who ran third in The Metropolitan before their last-start Listed win at Flemington on Melbourne Cup Day and Brian Ellison’s British raider Saptapadi who ran 16th in the Melbourne Cup.
Rounding out the nominees are then Kiwi raiders Booming, last seen finishing a disappointing ninth in The Lexus Stakes, and Ginga Dude; the John Thompson-trained Count Encosta and Queensland visitor Rundle.
In a bid to attract more entries, Racing Victoria have extended Zipping Classic nominations until 10:00am (AEDT) Tuesday November 8 with the final field to be released on Wednesday.
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2011 Zipping Classic Nominations
|1||AMERICAIN (USA)||Alain de Royer Dupre||117|
|2||BOOMING (NZ)||Jeff Lynds||103|
|3||COUNT ENCOSTA||John P Thompson||89|
|4||GINGA DUDE (NZ)||Graeme Boyd||107|
|6||MANIGHAR (FR)||Luca Cumani||110|
|7||MOURAYAN (IRE)||Robert Hickmott||110|
|9||SAPTAPADI (IRE)||Brian Ellison||101|