Talented gelding Almalad returned to winning form with a comfortable victory in the 2014 Stutt Stakes at Moonee Valley tonight.
Almalad missed the placings in his two race starts in Sydney at the start of his 2014 Spring Racing Carnival campaign, but showed that he deserved to be among the leading candidates for both the Group 1 Caulfield Guineas (1600m) and Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m).
Jockey Tommy Berry settled Almalad just behind the leaders in the early stages of the Stutt Stakes and that proved to be the winning move as the Al Maher gelding was able to show an impressive turn-of-foot in the final stages of the race, while a number of the leading chances were blocked for a run.
Trainer Gai Waterhouse has dominated the Stutt Stakes in recent years, winning the past two editions of the race with Pierro and Almalad, and her Melbourne stable foreman Roger Elliot said that Almalad was on track to run in both the Group 1 Caulfield Guineas (1600m) on October 11 and the Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m) at Moonee Valley a fortnight later.
“It was great,” James said.
“The Cox Plate is looking really good.
“That was Gai’s plan for sure and she is down on Sunday, so I am sure that she will be working out what way she goes.
“He is an exciting horse.”
Almalad has already recorded a Group 1 victory, when he took out the Group 1 J.J. Atkins (1600m) during the 2014 Brisbane Winter Racing Carnival, but Berry believes that the best is still ahead of the three-year-old and he is confident that the gelding can be a major player at the highest level of racing for a number of years to come.
“It was a great win,” Berry said after the race.
“Gai has done a great job with this horse.
“Obviously with the wet tracks in Sydney we were a bit behind the eight ball, but she got him down to Melbourne in great order and really fit.
“He did pull a little bit today, but we walked midrace and he isn’t the flashiest out of the barriers, but he is just going to keep improving with racing this horse.
“There is no rush to get him to the breeding barn because he is a gelding and I think we have a few years with him.
“The Cox Plate is looking good for him at the moment.”
Almalad is currently available at 2014 Cox Plate odds of $13 with Ladbrokes.com.au and you can find the best odds for all the major races during the 2014 Spring Racing Carnival with the leading online bookmaker.
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2014 Stutt Stakes Results
|1||1||ALMALAD||Gai Waterhouse||Tommy Berry||–||6||57kg||$3F|
|2||5||MOONOVERMANHATTAN||Mick Price||Craig Newitt||1.75L||5||57kg||$13|
|3||4||KUMAON||John O’Shea||Kerrin McEvoy||2.15L||8||57kg||$13|
|4||7||CAVEKA||Peter G Moody||Luke Nolen||2.35L||9||57kg||$12|
|5||9||MIHANY||David Hayes & Tom Dabernig||Michael Walker||3.35L||7||57kg||$26|
|6||3||CHIVALRY||Mark Kavanagh||Glen Boss||3.45L||1||57kg||$3.80|
|7||2||ZULULAND||David Hayes & Tom Dabernig||Damien Oliver||4.2L||3||57kg||$12|
|8||8||SILENT WHISPER||Lloyd Kennewell||Mark Zahra||4.95L||4||57kg||$51|
|9||6||ZEBULON (NZ)||Peter Morgan & Craig Widdison||Stephen Baster||6.95L||2||57kg||$6|