Wednesday’s impressive Geelong Cup winner Almoonqith has received a one kilogram weight penalty for the 2015 Melbourne Cup at Flemington Racecourse on the first Tuesday of November.
The David Hayes & Tom Dabernig-trained import was given a gun ride by in-form hoop James McDonald to come from a midfield position and fly home to defeat 2013 Caulfield Cup runner-up Dandino by one and three-quarter lengths in this week’s Group 3 Geelong Cup (2400m).
The victory was the six-year-old Dynaformer stallion’s first down under since joining Hayes & Dabernig at Lindsay Park from Dubai at the start of the spring.
Before the Geelong Cup win Almoonqith was 37th on the order of entry for the $6.2 million Group 1 Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m) on November 3 and paying $21 in the all-in markets for the two mile classic through Ladbrokes.com.au.
After Racing Victoria’s Chief Handicapper Greg Carpenter handed the horse a one kilogram penalty, half-a-kilo less than that received by last year’s Geelong Cup winner Caravan Rolls On (1.5kg), Almoonqith has moved up to 27th on the Melbourne Cup ballot with a total weight of 53kg.
“Almoonqith made a winning move coming to the home turn in the Geelong Cup and was a dominant winner over Dandino with a decisive margin back to Manndawi in third place,” Carpenter told Racing Victoria on Thursday.
“In the Geelong Cup, Almoonqith had 2kg less than Dandino who has 52.5kg in the Melbourne Cup and the 1kg penalty now takes Almoonqith to 53kg, representing a 2.5kg turnaround between Almoonqith and Dandino from yesterday’s race.”
The penalty was originally enough to push him into 28th spot on the ballot, however on Thursday morning the reigning Melbourne Cup winner Protectionist and The Bart Cummings winning mare Let’s Make Adeal were officially withdrawn.
The Melbourne Cup field runs at a 24-starter capacity, however due to late scratchings 24 horses have lined up only three times in the ‘race that stops a nation’ in the past 10 years.
Fifty-three kilograms meanwhile was last carried by a Melbourne Cup winner in 2008 when Viewed won the classic for the late, great Bart Cummings handing the ‘Cups King’ with his 12th and final victory in the world’s richest handicap.
Two of the past five Melbourne Cup champions had their final lead-up runs in the Geelong Cup with the French-trained raiders Americain (2010) and Dunaden (2011) completing the double Almoonqith now shoots for in back-to-back years.
Almoonqith has also firmed in the Melbourne Cup odds at Ladbrokes.com.au, who are running Best Tote or SP + 20% on the full Cox Plate Day card at Moonee Valley this weekend, into $17 with markets led by the Japanese-trained Caulfield Cup sixth placed raider Fame Game ($4.60).
To back Almoonqith to make the Melbourne Cup field and come away with the win next month head to Ladbrokes.com.au now who are also rewarding first time depositing players with up to $700 in bonus bets when quoting the code SPRINGBONUS for a short time only!