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Co-trainer David Hayes is hopeful of securing his maiden win in the ‘race that stops a nation’ with Almoonqith heading towards a second shot at the Melbourne Cup this season.
Last Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival the imported stayer enjoyed a good win in the Group 3 Geelong Cup (2400m) over 2013 Caulfield Cup runner-up Dandino before running in Flemington Race 7 on the first Tuesday of November.
He got back in the $6 million Group 1 Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m) however and failed to make an impression running 18th to Darren Weir’s $101 roughie winner Prince Of Penzance.
Almoonqith atoned in his final spring run however taking on an easier field to defeated past Sydney Cup champ The Offer in the Listed Sandown Cup (3200m), proving his ability over the two miles.
He has failed to run in the money since with four unplaced autumn runs, including his fifth last time out on April 9 at Randwick in the latest edition of the Group 1 Sydney Cup (3200m) on a Soft-rated track.
Hayes, who recently farewelled Lindsay Park stars Criterion and Stay With Me to the breeding Barn, however remains confident the rising seven-year-old is the stable’s best Spring Cups hope in 2016.
“Almoonqith for sure (is my best Cups horse), he was very good in the spring last year winning the Geelong Cup and winning the Sandown Cup,” the Hall of Fame trainer told Racing Ahead on RSN 927.
“And just got back to last in the Melbourne Cup, got in a lot of trouble like a lot of the horses in the Cup and was denied his chance.
“He didn’t go in the wet tracks in Sydney, but he’s a dry tracker and on his day, he’s pretty good.”
Early on the internationals are dominating futures Melbourne Cup betting at Ladbrokes.com.au with England’s Ascot Gold Cup winner Order Of St George ($13) and last year’s runner-up Max Dynamite ($17) prepared in Ireland by William Mullins the top chances.
Almoonqith meanwhile can be found further down the markets at $41, Hayes hoping the galloper and other remaining runners can fill the Group 1 winning void left by last spring’s Caulfield Stakes champ Criterion and Thousand Guineas winning filly Stay With Me.
“They’ve both gone to stud with fantastic records, I think they’re going to have a great career at the next stage of their lives and we’re going to have to find new ones,” he said.
“I’ve got a nice group of horses that can hopefully fill Criterion’s big shoes.
“I think that we’ve got a balanced team, without a superstar and hopefully at the end of the spring, we might have one.”
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