Lindsay Park co-trainer David Hayes has uncovered a livewire chance for this year’s Melbourne Cup on the first Tuesday of November with Almoonqith enjoying a stylish win in Wednesday’s 2015 Geelong Cup.
Two of the past five Melbourne Cup winners had their final lead-up run in the same race won by former Dubai galloper Almoonqith this Spring Carnival with the French-trained raiders Americain (2010) and Dunaden (2011) both completed the Geelong Cup – Melbourne Cup double.
A capacity field lined up in this year’s $300,000 Group 3 Geelong Cup (2400m) with markets led by 2013 Caulfield Cup runner-up Dandino.
Ben Melham gave the Darren Weir-trained favourite, nine-year-old Dandino coming off a Group 1 Turnbull Stakes (2000m) fourth when beaten under a length, a good late run to make up ground in the closing stages.
It wasn’t enough to catch the runaway winner however with the David Hayes & Tom Dabernig-trained Dynaformer stallion Almoonqith ($9.50) getting the job done with ease thanks to a magic ride from Sydney-based hoop James McDonald.
McDonald had the winning six-year-old settled off the pace in a mid-field position with cover after jumping from a wide barrier (14 of 17) throughout while the likes of Robbie Laing’s roughie Don Doremo and the Ciaron Maher-trained Kapour led the Geelong Cup field around.
As they went around the back of the field the pace in this year’s Melbourne Cup lead-up slackened off and Dandino started his run coming around the home turn.
Having settled well and with plenty left for an exciting finish, McDonald moved Almoonqith up at the top of the straight, from where the horse displayed an excellent turn of foot racing off for the big win over Dandino ($4).
Finishing off the Geelong Cup trifecta in third was then the Ed Dunlop-trained British raider Manndawi ($15), Kerrin McEvoy aboard the progressive grey in his Australian race debut whose trainer is best known for preparing triple Melbourne Cup runner-up Red Cadeaux.
Japanese raider Fame Game, sixth in the Caulfield Cup last weekend, leads futures Melbourne Cup odds paying $4.60 through Ladbrokes.com.au who had Best Tote or SP + 20% on offer for this year’s Geelong Cup.
Before his Geelong Cup success Almoonqith was at a quote of $21 in the all-in Melbourne Cup betting markets, a price set to firm after his impressive success that Hayes rated more highly than Americain’s five years ago.
“He won it easier than Americain,” Hayes said.
“That’s very good form.
“He looked like a Melbourne Cup horse in the run.
“He won really convincingly.”
Currently sitting 37th on the Melbourne Cup order of entry with 52kg, Hayes is hoping the import will make the capacity 24-starter field on November 3 with a penalty from Racing Victoria’s Chief Handicapper Greg Carpenter for his Geelong Cup success.
“If Mr Carpenter gives him the right penalty, yes,” Hayes said of running the horse in the Melbourne Cup.
“This (the Geelong Cup) is a good guide to the Cup and he’s peaking at the right time.”
Last year’s Geelong Cup winner Caravan Rolls On was penalised 1.5kg for the victory, half a kilo more than Ibicenco in 2013.
Hayes was also quick to credit the nice ride by McDonald, but also said the decision to ride the horse a bit closer to the speed in the race also helped his chances after drawing wide.
“We decided to ride him a bit closer today,” he said.
“He got the dream run and it was just a fantastic ride.”
Post-win McDonald said he was most impressed with Almoonqith’s turn of foot in the finish that helped him flash home by the notable margin.
“He travelled really well but what impressed me the most was his turn of foot,” he said.
“He sustained it right to the line.
“There’s no question about it…he’ll give ‘em a shake (in the Melbourne Cup).”
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2015 Geelong Cup Results & Finishing Order
Geelong Race 7 – 21/10/2015
|1||6||ALMOONQITH (USA)||David Hayes & Tom Dabernig||James McDonald||–||14||55.5kg||$10|
|2||2||DANDINO (GB)||Darren Weir||Ben Melham||1.75L||8||57.5kg||$4F|
|3||13||MANNDAWI (FR)||Ed Dunlop||Kerrin McEvoy||5L||3||54kg||$15|
|4||12||MAYGROVE||Murray Baker||Patrick Moloney (a)||5.1L||6||54kg||$18|
|5||10||KAPOUR (IRE)||Ciaron Maher||Glen Boss||5.4L||7||54kg||$26|
|6||14||ETHIOPIA||Pat Carey||Ms Michelle Payne||5.5L||9||54kg||$41|
|7||16||DE LITTLE ENGINE||Danny O’Brien||Damien Oliver||5.9L||12||54kg||$15|
|8||15||RENEW (IRE)||Archie Alexander||Dean Yendall||6.3L||13||54kg||$26|
|9||5||SERTORIUS||Jamie Edwards||Ryan Maloney||6.4L||4||56.5kg||$14|
|10||7||CRAFTY CRUISER||Bryce Stanaway||Jye McNeil (a)||6.6L||17||54.5kg||$71|
|11||17||DON DOREMO (NZ)||Robbie Laing||Craig Newitt||7.1L||10||54kg||$101|
|12||4||GUARDINI (FR)||Lee & Anthony Freedman||James Winks||7.3L||5||57kg||$15|
|13||3||BONFIRE (GB)||Gai Waterhouse||Mark Zahra||7.4L||2||57kg||$13|
|14||11||SONNTAG||Henry Dwyer||Michael Dee (a)||7.6L||11||54kg||$101|
|15||8||ORBEC (FR)||John P Thompson||Craig Williams||8.1L||1||54.5kg||$9|
|16||1||QUEST FOR MORE (IRE)||Roger Charlton||Tommy Berry||8.4L||15||59kg||$6|
|17||9||GENUINE LAD||Robert Smerdon||Chris Parnham||8.8L||16||54kg||$26|
|–||18e||DISCLAIMER (GB)||Peter & Paul Snowden||Brenton Avdulla||–||0||–||–|