Local galloper Zahspeed remains the solid...
Lloyd Williams’ 2016 Melbourne Cup winner Almandin faces just seven rivals looking to return to winning form from the inside alley in Saturday’s Zipping Classic 2017 field at Sandown’s Ladbrokes Park.
Six-time Melbourne Cup winning owner Williams has also enjoyed six wins in the end-of-spring race formerly known as the Sandown Classic, including preparing the event’s now namesake Zipping for his four wins from 2007-10.
This Saturday the Group 2 $300,000 Zipping Classic (2400m) field features just the eight runners including three Williams-owned stayers led by Almandin.
Jockey Damien Oliver returns from his Ladbrokes Cox Plate Day suspension and jumps back aboard the Monsun eight-year-old.
Controversial Italian hoop Frankie Dettori rode the horse last time out when Almandin finished 12th in the Group 1 Melbourne Cup (3200m) failing to defend his title in the two mile classic, unplaced behind the fellow Williams-owned Rekindling.
A smaller field and a drop in grade and distance has Almandin tipped to win the weight-for-age Zipping Classic this season.
The fellow Robert Hickmott-trained runners in the race are The Taj Mahal and Assign drawn in barriers five and two respectively.
Ben Melham retains the ride on Irish import The Taj Mahal, the Galileo entire coming off a close fourth when under two lengths off the winner Tosen Stardom in last Saturday’s Group 1 Emirates Stakes (2000m) at Flemington.
Assign will jump the longest Zipping Classic odds of the Williams’ contingent, Kerrin McEvoy on the Montjeu seven-year-old whose latest start produced a distant fifth in the Group 3 Coongy Cup (2000m) on Caulfield Cup Day.
The other headliner in the Zipping Classic field this spring is the Darren Weir-trained Big Duke in gate three with Damian Lane in the saddle of the always honest stayer.
Raven’s Pass six-year-old Big Duke races at Sandown for the first time looking to add to his strong 2400m record of two wins and two seconds from four starts over the Zipping Classic distance.
Recent winner of Sydney’s $500,000 St. Leger (2600m) following his second to Foundry in the Group 1 The Metropolitan (2400m) in late September, Big Duke comes off back-to-back fourths in Melbourne.
The latest was a brave effort in the Melbourne Cup first four and the Melbourne Cup graduates have a great recent strike rate in the Zipping Classic results.
One of the two late entries into the race, So Si Bon is accepted to run in the Saturday Group 2 feature.
The Robbie Laing-trained So You Think four-year-old was third in the Group 1 Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes (1400m) back in early October before two disappointing Flemington runs.
His latest was a 10th in the Emirates Stakes, but So Si Bon was just over three lengths beaten and came through the run in great order prompting Laing to throw the dice once more in 2017.
“He just had a swim on Sunday morning and again Monday morning and afternoon and then I had a look at the field and I thought he had the form and he was in the right shape to really give that race a real shake,” the Cranbourne-based Laing told Racing Victoria on Tuesday.
2017 Zipping Classic Final Field & Barrier Draw
Ladbrokes Park Race 7 (4:00pm) – 18/11/2017
|#||Form (Last 10)||Horse||Trainer||Jockey||Barrier||Weight||Hcp. Rating|
|1||65111×2140||ALMANDIN (GER)||Robert Hickmott||Damien Oliver||1||59kg||111|
|2||13×5502144||BIG DUKE (IRE)||Darren Weir||Damian Lane||3||59kg||107|
|3||210x71x045||ASSIGN (IRE)||Robert Hickmott||Kerrin McEvoy||2||59kg||103|
|4||73×0000295||BERISHA||Robert Smerdon||Mark Zahra||7||59kg||95|
|5||6x68830x49||DANDY GENT||Terry & Karina O’Sullivan||Dean Yendall||4||59kg||82|
|6||30×2283300||SO SI BON||Robbie Laing||Noel Callow||6||58kg||95|
|7||3x3116x598||CONSOMMATEUR (NZ)||Michael Kent||Michael Dee||8||57kg||92|
|8||2244692504||THE TAJ MAHAL (IRE)||Robert Hickmott||Ben Melham||5||56.5kg||103|
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