After getting caught back and failing to finish off after a slowly-run Melbourne Cup last Tuesday, the David Hayes & Tom Dabernig-trained Geelong Cup winner Almoonqith gets the chance to atone on Saturday at Sandown in one of two Zipping Classic Day 2015 races.
The imported Dynaformer stallion is a dual nominee on the Sandown Hillside program that continues the action of this year’s Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival and staying features on the weekend.
Lindsay Park’s six-year-old is in the mix for both the weight-for-age $300,000 Group 2 Zipping Classic (2400m) as the $150,000 Listed Sandown Cup (3200m) over the two miles where he would carrying 59kg under handicap conditions.
Almoonqith entered calculations for this year’s $6.2 million Group 1 Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m) with his impressive one and three quarter length victory over 2013 Caulfield Cup runner-up Dandino in the Group 3 Geelong Cup (2400m) on October 21.
He missed the kick from a wide gate and didn’t get a premium run, but that didn’t stop the galloper charging home by a comprehensive margin.
On the first Tuesday of November up over the 3200m however, Almoonqith settled back off the slow Melbourne Cup pace set by visiting Goodwood Cup winner Big Orange and never got a look in as Darren Weir’s $101 roughie Prince Of Penzance capitalised on a cruisy run and scored the upset.
Almoonqith meanwhile crossed 18th of the 24 runners, beaten just under seven lengths.
“He got back in the field and never got a crack at them,” co-trainer Hayes told AAP this week.
“He couldn’t have had an easier run.”
Hayes said the team would have a good look over the nominations for both the Zipping Classic and Sandown Cup before deciding which option to take with Almoonqith.
The Zipping Classic nominations were extended until 10:00am (AEST) on Tuesday after 13 original early entries that includes Geelong Cup runner-up Dandino for Melbourne Cup winning trainer Weir who won last Saturday’s Group 3 Queen’s Cup (2600m) and Almoonqith’s stablemate Rising Romance whose last start was a second in the Group 1 Mackinnon Stakes (2000m) on Derby Day.
Of the 22 Sandown Cup nominations four Melbourne Cup graduates are in the mix.
Almoonqith joins Gai Waterhouse’s 2014 Sydney Cup winner The Offer (8th), Jamie Edwards’ Galileo eight-year-old Sertorius (12th) and the Chris Waller-trained Sydney Cup winner this autumn gone Grand Marshal (21st) as the fellow hopes coming out of a run in the ‘race that stops a nation’.
The Offer, who won the Listed Bendigo Cup (2400m) with 59kg before carrying 54kg to his eighth in the Melbourne Cup, tops the Sandown Cup weights with 60kg.
Dandino (59.5kg), who goes up from his Queen’s Cup winning weight of 58kg, follows before Grand Marshal and Almoonqith with 59kg each.
Sertorius is on 57kg equal with the James Cummings-trained Zabeel 10-year-old Precedence whose last start was a distant ninth behind The United States in the Group 2 Moonee Valley Gold Cup (2500m), which Prince Of Penzance ran second in this year during his title defence, on Cox Plate Day.
Stay tuned to Races.com.au for the full Sandown race fields out on Wednesday.
Before then make sure you’ve got access to the season’s premier racing markets and odds by signing up with Ladbrokes.com.au who will give you $150 in bonuses when you deposit just $50 and quote the code BONUS150!