Almandin stamped himself as a genuine Melbourne Cup contender with a dominant staying performance in The Bart Cummings at Flemington this afternoon.
Almandin went into The Bart Cummings as a clear favourite following his victory in the Harry White Classic last weekend and there were no issues for punters as the imported stayer cruised to a very comfortable win.
The Bart Cummings victory earns Almandin a ballot-exempt entry into the 2016 Melbourne Cup and co-owner Nick Williams confirmed that the German stayer will head into ‘the race that stops a nation’ without another race start.
“He has raced very well these last two weeks,” Williams said.
“He has had a lot of problems since he has been here – basically two weeks off the scene – and it is a credit to all the lads at the farm.
“Dad sent a very specific preparation for him that started before the winter and we ran him once a month through that period to get him some race craft.
“Once we got him up to a trip in these better races he seems to be improving each time.
“Hopefully in a little over four weeks he might improve a little bit again.
“It is a huge step-up in class the Melbourne Cup, but that is where he goes next and I can’t imagine we will give him another run.
“He is very lightly-weighted – he may get a small penalty from today, but I daresay he probably won’t because this is only a Group 3 race.
“He is a horse on the up and we are very excited.”
Jockey Damien Oliver was having just his second ride on Almandin after steering him to victory in the Harry White Classic last weekend and he was once again impressed with the feel he received from the son of Monsun.
“Lloyd Williams loves his stayers and he has done a good job this horse,” Oliver said.
“He was impressive last week, but he was up a bit in class today and he has done it again.
“That gets him into the Cup and I am sure that Lloyd will be happy.
“We had a good even run, there were a few stopping coming to the turn, but I got a good run through and he won comfortably.”
Almandin is now into Melbourne Cup odds of $17 with Ladbrokes and he is on the third line of betting behind Bondi Beach ($13) and Hartnell ($15).