Local galloper Zahspeed remains the solid...
The Darren Weir-trained Big Duke is considered the big danger to the favourite Almandin in Saturday’s 2017 Zipping Classic betting markets, the Melbourne Cup fourth placegetter an early market mover for the Ladbrokes Park feature.
Just eight stayers do battle in this year’s Group 2 $300,000 Zipping Classic (2400m) including Almandin and Big Duke who are both graduates from the Group 1 $6.25 million Melbourne Cup (3200m).
The Melbourne Cup has produced nine of the past 10 Zipping Classic winners, which bodes well for the two horses at the top of the markets at Ladbrokes.com.au for the weekend’s mile-and-a-half showdown.
After opening at $3.50, Raven’s Pass six-year-old Big Duke has firmed into $3.30 Zipping Classic odds after rounding out the Melbourne Cup first four on the first Tuesday of November.
Boasting an excellent 2400m record of two wins and two second from four starts, Weir’s dour stayer finished six lengths ahead of the Lloyd Williams-raced Almandin in the Melbourne Cup results.
Imported Monsun eight-year-old Almandin was defending his title in the ‘Race That Stops A Nation’, but was caught three wide without cover for much of the race carrying 56.5kg.
That was 4.5kg more than his Melbourne Cup winning weight from 12 months ago and controversial Italian hoop Frankie Dettori copped plenty of criticism again for his wide run on Almandin.
Damien Oliver is back aboard returning from his 10-meeting suspension in the Zipping Classic on the favourite Almandin who meets Big Duke equal on 59kg at weight-for-age in the rematch.
The money has also been steady for the rails-drawn Almandin who opened at $2.80 in Zipping Classic betting before firming into $2.60.
The other best fancied and the other single-figure chance is the fellow Williams-owned, Robert Hickmott-raced former European The Taj Mahal ($3.80).
Jockey Ben Melham rides the progressive Galileo four-year-old whose lead-up run was a brave fourth under two lengths beaten last Saturday at Flemington behind Tosen Stardom in the Group 1 $2 million Emirates Stakes (2000m).
The challenge for The Taj Mahal this weekend on the quick back-up is the step-up to 2400m, the entire yet to win over further than 1400m.
The remaining runners in the Zipping Classic field are all on the drift in the latest markets including Berisha ($13 out to $14) and late inclusion So Si Bon ($13 out to $14).
Robert Smerdon saddles-up Al Samer six-year-old Berisha who has had a lengthy prep.
His best result was the distant second to subsequent Ladbrokes Cox Plate third placegetter Folkswood in the Listed Cranbourne Cup (2025m) in mid-October.
Berisha has been unplaced in his two follow-up runs, including a fifth to Saturday’s Sandown Cup fancy Fanatic in a 2800m Benchmark 96 on Melbourne Cup Day.
The gelding is back-up in grade for the Zipping Classic, but should appreciate the drop from 60kg to 59kg at WFA and was third as a three-year-old in the 2014 Sandown Guineas at the track.
Cranbourne’s Robbie Laing made an eleventh hour decision to run So You Think four-year-old So Si Bon after the entire came through his luckless Emirates Stakes 10th last weekend in top order.
2017 Zipping Classic Odds
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