The countdown to the Sydney Spring Racing...
Jockey Michael Walker was rewarded for his decision to ride 2016 Melbourne Cup bound Almoonqith in a Tuesday morning trial instead of riding at Pakenham throughout the day.
Walker turned down rides at Racing.com Park on Tuesday in favour of partnering the Lindsay Park-trained Almoonqith in the opening heat at Tatura that morning.
The Dynaformer stallion gave Walker exactly what he’d been hoping for finishing only a length away second behind the Tony McEvoy-trained fellow Spring Cups hopeful Alpine Eagle over 1400m in the trial.
“[Almoonqith’s] aim is obviously the Melbourne Cup again, so I’d like to go to the trials and get a feel of him, and just make sure he is spot on,” Walker told Racing Victoria on Monday.
The imported stayer won last October’s Group 3 Geelong Cup (2400m) before a disappointing 18th behind the Darren Weir-trained Prince Of Penzance in the $6.2 million Group 1 Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m).
Almoonqith atoned for the unplaced Melbourne Cup result winning the Listed Sandown Cup (3200m) over the two miles a fortnight later defeating the 2014 Sydney Cup winner The Offer.
The now seven-year-old failed to reach the same heights in the autumn with four unplaced runs, Walker in the saddle for two including the sixth behind Preferment in the Group 1 The BMW (2400m) in Sydney.
The galloper’s most recent run was at Royal Randwick on April 9 when crossing seven lengths away fifth to Gallante in the Group 1 Sydney Cup (3200m) with Hugh Bowman in the saddle.
Walker has had two rides in the ‘race that stops a nation’ including his Melbourne Cup third aboard Criterion last spring and is will be aboard for the November 1 ride on Almoonqith this carnival.
“He’s got a good long campaign ahead of him, and he’s a horse that for his first couple of runs, he’s always big in condition being a stallion,” he said.
“I’ve galloped him, and I rode him in a jump out at Flemington, and he just plodded around.
“He’s still very big in condition, but it’s not until the first Tuesday in November, so I don’t want him rock hard fit yet.”
Walker’s first spring ride on Almoonqith is scheduled for August 27 at Caulfield Racecourse when the entire resumes racing in the $120,000 Listed Heatherlie Stakes (1700m).
“Unfortunately I missed riding him in the Sydney Cup [last year] due to injury,” Walker said.
“He’s come up really well, he feels good. If anything he’s bigger and stronger so I’m looking forward to him.
“He’s a cool horse, I love riding him.”
The latest all-in Melbourne Cup betting odds at Ladbrokes.com.au have Almoonqith installed as a $41 shot, an equal price with Tuesday morning’s trial winner Alpine Eagle.
Check out the full Melbourne Cup 2016 markets online now at Ladbrokes.com.au – home of Odds Boost (T&Cs apply).
Racing fields and data are copyright 2011-2021 © Racing Australia Pty Ltd (RA) (and other parties working with it).
Racing materials, including fields, form and results, is subject to copyright which is owned by RA and other parties working with it. Full copyright notice.