Local galloper Zahspeed remains the solid...
The always-popular Zipping Classic 2017 end-of-spring showdown takes place at Ladbrokes Park on Saturday and our insider tips and updated odds on the mile-and-a-half showdown are detailed below.
Just the eight stayers are in the mix for this year’s Group 2 $300,000 Zipping Classic (2400m), the weight-for-age clash scheduled as Sandown Race 7 at 4:00pm (AEDT).
There are three chances at the top of the Zipping Classic odds at Ladbrokes.com.au including the Lloyd Williams-raced 2016 Melbourne Cup winner Almandin.
Almandin had no luck with a run three wide without cover when defending his title in the Group 1 $6.25 million Melbourne Cup (3200m) eventually running 12th to the fellow Williams-owned Rekindling.
There’s plenty of support in Zipping Classic betting this weekend for the eight-year-old import to bounce back and hand Williams a sixth win in the race to equal his number of Melbourne Cup trophies.
Almandin is drawn barrier one and jockey Damien Oliver returns from suspension for the ride on the $2.60 favourite.
Following closely in the Zipping Classic odds at $3.30 and also firming is the other Melbourne Cup graduate looking to frank the form out of the two mile classic, fourth placed Big Duke.
Darren Weir’s gun galloper has excellent 2400m form and doesn’t know how to run a bad race.
Jockey Damian Lane comes aboard on Saturday in place of Brenton Avdulla who has ridden the six-year-old for his four latest starts including the fourth in the Melbourne Cup results.
Another Macedon Lodge-owned import The Taj Mahal, backing up from a fourth in last Saturday’s Group 1 Emirates Stakes (2000m), is the other key player in betting at $3.90.
So will the top three run the Zipping Classic trifecta or is there an upset pending in the last staying showdown of the spring?
#2 Big Duke ($3.30)
Tipping Big Duke with the blinkers on coming back from the brave Melbourne Cup fourth over 3200m to the 2400m, a distance he has stellar form over (4:2-2-0-0). This genuine galloper never runs poorly, is Group 1 placed over the mile and a half this time in and only needs to handle meeting Almandin at WFA to end the spring with a win.
#1 Almandin ($2.60)
Hard-to-knock favourite. Melbourne Cup winner last spring and there were excuses for his unplaced run this time in. Was a further six lengths off Big Duke in that, but meets the same rival equal at WFA here and that’s a huge plus. Damien Oliver is also back aboard and he’s a chance to salute for the punters and return to winning form.
#4 Berisha ($14)
Nice price offered for Robert Smerdon’s Al Samer gelding who has been hit-and-miss this season, but who is reaching peak fitness and always goes better further along. Cranbourne Cup second behind subsequent Ladbrokes Cox Plate placegetter Folkswood earlier this campaign. Geelong Cup unplaced run (9th) followed before a fifth to gun mare Fanatic over 2800m at Flemington on Melbourne Cup Day. Back from 60kg there to WFA, smaller field and that form looks pretty good.
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