Murwillumbah trainer Matthew Dunn is looking...
Reigning champion Almandin has rocketed back to the top of futures 2017 Melbourne Cup betting following the Lloyd Williams-owned veteran’s first-up win last weekend.
Run on Tuesday November 7 at Flemington Racecourse, the iconic Group 1 $6.2 million Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m) is a typically open affair ahead of nominations closing today at midday.
Currently it is now eight-year-old Monsun gelding Almandin back on top of futures Melbourne Cup odds at $15 with Japanese raider Admire Deus.
No eight-year-old has won the Melbourne Cup in over 30 years, but the bookies are taking no chances with the defending winner after Almandin finished an eye-catching second at Moonee Valley over 2040m last Saturday.
Ridden by Ben Melham on a hefty 61kg, the lightly-raced champ was beaten under a length by the Darren Weir-trained Pacodali in his first start since defeating Heartbreak City (2nd) and Hartnell (3rd) in last November’s Melbourne Cup trifecta.
Almandin may be a rising nine-year-old but he has had just 13 starts to date for a consistent record of five wins, four seconds and a third.
The Melbourne Cup triumph over the famous two miles at Flemington last carnival was his third win on the trot following lead-up victories in the Listed Harry White Classic (2400m) at Caulfield and the Group 3 Bart Cummings (2500m) at Flemington a month before the ‘race that stops a nation’.
Almandin became the fifth Melbourne Cup winner for goliath owner Williams.
The German import will be kept fresh over his spring campaign this time around having performed so well first-up over the weekend according to stable rep Nick Williams.
“He will probably go there [the Melbourne Cup] with three of four runs,” Williams, son of Lloyd, told the Sydney Morning Herald.
“You would hope he has [improvement], but if you use the analogy of a footballer, if they miss their twenties it doesn’t mean they can play in their thirties.”
Williams is referring to the fact that Almandin didn’t race for the entirety of 2015 following a nearly career ending injury in Europe before he was brought down under to join Team Williams in 2016.
The stable also have concerns about the handicap Almandin will receive when the Melbourne Cup 2017 weights are released in mid-September.
“He’s going to get a lot more weight, probably 56 kilos,” Williams said.
“He carried 52 last year. It’s a big ask, not many do it but the horse will tell us along the way.”
Williams said no jockey had been confirmed for Almandin’s Melbourne Cup title defence, Kerrin McEvoy having ridden the horse to victory last year.
“Nothing is locked in,” he said.
“Everything is fluid this time of year.”
A host of Williams-raced stayers are expected to feature in the Melbourne Cup nominations released this afternoon including a number of international raiders.
Among the possible overseas-trained contingent for Williams being earmarked for a trip down under are Order of St George ($34) and three-year-old Rekindling ($31) prepared by Aidan O’Brien.
Stay tuned for the official 2017 Melbourne Cup nominations and updated odds at Ladbrokes.com.au.
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