Half of the horses nominated for the Zipping Classic 2011 at Sandown this Saturday have dropped out of contention at acceptance stage, sure-to-be favourite and former Melbourne Cup winner Americain to face only four rivals.
In a field emulating the size of a Black Caviar race these days, the $350,000 Group 2 Zipping Classic (2400m) will be contested by just five stayers this year.
Interestingly this is the same number of contenders in the feature last year when Zipping claimed his unprecedented fourth straight success in the then-named Sandown Classic.
Out to repeat the feat of Zipping in backing up from a Melbourne Cup fourth to win the final staying showdown of the Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival, the Alain de Royer Dupre-trained Americain is reportedly in flying form having come through their brave Melbourne Cup run in fine form.
“He’s pulled up well,” assistant trainer Stephanie Nigge said of Americain.
“He put on three kilograms after his race and he looks good.”
A Zipping Classic win on Saturday will see Americain continue on this prep to contest the $HK 14 million Group 1 Hong Kong Vase (2400m) at Sha Tin Racecourse on December 11 where they would again face off against Melbourne Cup winner Dunaden and runner-up Red Cadeaux.
Dropping back from the two-miles to 2400 metres for the Zipping, Americain will race for the third time in as many weeks for the first time of their career, and how they handle both of these factors will determine their success.
One person hoping Americain isn’t flying quite as high as connections have suggested is Luca Cumani’s travelling foreman Charlie Henson, Cumani to be represented in the 2011 Zipping Classic field by Manighar.
Manighar ran a credible fifth in the Melbourne Cup last start crossing the line just over a length further back than Americain.
“He ran a very solid race,” Henson said of Manighar in the Melbourne Cup.
“He was the only one who was up there on the pace who kept going to the line.”
While drawn well in barrier three for the Zipping Classic, Americain in five, Manighar will meet the favourite equal in the weights on 59kg which is 5kg more than their Melbourne Cup weight.
After an impressive track gallop at Werribee on Tuesday morning, Henson is confident that Manighar is ready for the Zipping and could turn the tables on Americain.
“All’s good (with the horse),” he said.
“We didn’t need to do a hard piece of work, the Cup was only a week ago.
“The Cup run was probably a career-best really.”
Manighar will be ridden by Dwayne Dunn on Saturday, the hoop replacing the suspended Damien Oliver.
The third horse in the Zipping Classic field backing up from a Melbourne Cup start is the Brian Ellison-trained British raider Saptapadi who has the rails run on Saturday as they look to improve on their disappointing 16th in the Cup.
Rounding out the 2011 Zipping Classic acceptors are the Lloyd Williams-owned Mourayan who was scratched from the Melbourne Cup due to a foot injury and the David Vandyke-trained Lamasery last seen winning the Listed Johnnie Walker Stakes (1800m) at Flemington on Melbourne Cup Day.
The five gallopers that failed to accept for the race were Jeff Lynd’s Kiwi visitor Booming, the John Thompson-trained Count Encosta, Ginga Dude, late entry Montgomery and Rundle.
Of these the Graeme Boyd-trained Ginga Dude is the only horse still racing at Sandown on Saturday, the veteran eight-year-old to contest the $125,000 Group 3 Eclipse Stakes (1800m).
Zipping Classic betting odds are due to open at our preferred online bookmaker Luxbet shortly so make sure you are ready for the action by opening your account with them today.
2011 Zipping Classic Final Field & Barrier Draw
Sandown Race 6 – 12/11/2011
|#||Form (Last 10)||Horse||Trainer||Jockey||Barrier||Weight||Hcp. Rating|
|1||3X66X10X14||AMERICAIN (USA)||Alain de Royer Dupre||Gerald Mosse||5||59kg||117|
|2||2042X04312||MOURAYAN (IRE)||Robert Hickmott||Hugh Bowman||3||59kg||110|
|3||573X348445||MANIGHAR (FR)||Luca Cumani||Dwayne Dunn||2||59kg||110|
|4||1146X41131||LAMASERY||David Vandyke||Brenton Avdulla||4||59kg||107|
|5||34X7555800||SAPTAPADI (IRE)||Brian Ellison||Danny Nikolic||1||59kg||101|