The Melbourne Cup has again figured as a standout form indicator at Sandown this afternoon as Almoonqith beat home The Offer and Grand Marshal to take out the Listed Sandown Cup (3200m).
Almoonqith interestingly drifted in 2015 Sandown Cup betting markets in the hours leading up to jump this afternoon but did his chances of success no harm when completing a good start and settling within the field as Maygrove, Pop’N’Scotch and Renew took up the early running.
Receiving an ideal run in transit after settling into a good and fair rhythm, jockey Michael Walker continued to bide his time over the back straight before peeling the import out approaching the final bend.
Rounding onto the final straight with plenty to do, the Dynaformer entire was allowed ample time to balance before asked for an extra effort; his turn of foot stunning in charging forward and comfortably overcoming leader Grand Marshal and hitting the line well and truly in the clear.
Walker has found a great run of form through the 2015 Spring Carnival and was thrilled to partner Almoonqith to success in the Sandown Cup.
“I had a beautiful run,” Walker said.
“I was very fortunate I was able to go forward on him today and I ended up in a beautiful spot.
“I was confident coming into the straight because he was going really well. Obviously it what a step back in class but I think next year he’ll be better as an import second time around.”
Co-trainer David Hayes was pleased Almoonqith was able to prove himself over the two miles of the Sandown Cup this afternoon and revealed the five-year-old may have booked himself a ticket abroad for the Group 1 Hong Kong Vase (2400m) at Sha Tin in December.
“It was a great effort by the horse but I think an even better effort by Michael Walker,” Hayes said after the race.
“He’s about to go on holidays for a hip replacement and he’s gone out on a great note; that was just a terrific ride.
“He just got back in the race and was a non-factor, but the Melbourne Cup form is coming out everywhere so hopefully he’ll go to Hong Kong.
“I think (next year) Almoonqith will go up for the Sydney Cup. He’ll be an ideal horse for that and then back here for next year’s Melbourne Cup.
“He’s shown Sheikh Hamden he can run two miles now and he’s a promising young stayer.”
Almoonqith has now taken out two key stakes races through his first Australian preparation this time, having also claimed a commanding win in the Group 3 Geelong Cup (2400m) on October 21st.