Makybe Diva Return for Melbourne Cup Winner Almandin?

Five-time Melbourne Cup winning owner Lloyd Williams is considering a first-up run in the 2017 Makybe Diva Stakes for his latest champion of the ‘race that stops a nation’, but admits it is hard to find a suitable early spring option for Almandin.

Almandin

Reigning Melbourne Cup winner Almandin could kick off his 2017 spring bid in the Makybe Diva Stakes at Flemington in mid-September. Photo: Ultimate Racing Photos.

Monsun gelding Almandin scored an upset over Heartbreak City (2nd) and Hartnell (3rd) as a $10 chance in last year’s $6.2 million Group 1 Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m) becoming the first seven-year-old to win the race since Makybe Diva for her third in 2005.

Williams is now plotting a path towards a likely title defence in the 2017 Melbourne Cup on Tuesday November 7 with the rising eight-year-old, but believes Racing Victoria have their spring schedule wrong when it comes placing the top tier stayers.

Without any genuine staying races in August or September during the Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival, Williams is likely to kick off Almandin’s preparation at Flemington over the mile on September 16 in the $750,000 Group 1 Makybe Diva Stakes (1600m).

“In Melbourne it is very difficult as there aren’t any races at 2000m or further at weight-for-age or quality set weights handicaps in those months,” the recent Hall of Fame inductee told the Herald Sun this week.

“Horses which are rated at 100 and over are very difficult to place in lead up races to our major races.

“I hope over time the industry amends the program.”

Williams added that the increased dominance of the northern hemisphere-trained horses in the world’s richest handicap was due to the fact the raiders had more suitable pre-Melbourne Cup lead-up races to contest.

“In the United Kingdom, Ireland and Europe it is much easier to prepare stayers as there are more set weight races over distances at 2000m, 2400m, 2600m and 2800m,” he explained.

Almandin, who has a rating of 103, won the Melbourne Cup last year carrying 52kg on the back of lead-up wins in the Listed Harry White Classic (2400m) at Caulfield in late September and Flemington’s Group 3 The Bart Cummings (2500m) in early October.

The latest all-in Melbourne Cup odds for 2017 at Ladbrokes.com.au have Almandin rated a $26 shot to go back-to-back in the two mile classic.

Futures Melbourne Cup betting is dominated by the international raiders including Germany’s Red Cardinal ($15) prepared by the race’s 2014 winning trainer Andreas Wohler, Japanese stayer Admire Deus ($17) and the Charlie Appleby-trained Francis Of Assisi ($17) who won the Bendigo Cup – Queen Elizabeth Stakes double in Melbourne last spring.

To check out the current Melbourne Cup 2017 betting odds ahead of nominations on August 29, visit Ladbrokes.com.au.

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