Phillip Stokes’ Sir John Monash Stakes winning...
The Lloyd Williams-owned 2016 Melbourne Cup winner Almandin is the early market mover in Australian Cup 2018 betting deemed the most likely to upset race favourite Gailo Chop.
The richest of the Super Saturday races at Flemington Racecourse on Saturday, this season’s Group 1 $1.5 million Australian Cup (2000m) features a dozen hopefuls and runs as Race 8 at 4:35pm (AEDT).
In the latest Australian Cup odds online at Ladbrokes.com.au there has been early money for the now Liam Howley-trained Almandin, the always-honest stayer out to be the first eight-year-old to win the weight-for-age feature in over 30 years.
Almandin hasn’t won since September last year, but his latest two starts in November (2017) and February this year both produced brave seconds behind stablemates he faces again in the Australian Cup field.
He rounded out his spring with a second to The Taj Mahal in the Group 2 Sandown Classic (2400m) before kicking off his autumn on February 24 on Ladbrokes Blue Diamond Day narrowly going down to his better-weighted stablemate on debut down under, Homesman, in the Listed Ladbrokes Mornington Cup Prelude (2000m).
After carting the 60kg top weight there, Almandin looks set to enjoy a return to weight-for-age racing on Saturday in the Australian Cup where jockey Damien Oliver chases his second in in the race on the Monsun gelding.
Boasting a three-from-six record at the Flemington track and plenty of form over the 2000m distance (7:1-3-1), Almandin has firmed in from $6.50 to $5.50 and now occupies the second line of Australian Cup betting.
Easing out from $2.70 to $3 to make it three straight wins this season meanwhile is the Darren Weir-trained favourite Gailo Chop.
Drawn one closer to the fence than Almandin (11) in barrier 10, the French import comes off back-to-back Caulfield wins including his success in the Group 2 Peter Young Stakes (1800m) on Blue Diamond Stakes Day.
The Peter Young Stakes – Australian Cup double was last completed by Fiorente (2014) and Gailo Chop has genuine claims to frank the form and hand Weir his second win in the Group 1 after that of Peter Young runner-up Humidor in 2017.
Since 2004 there have been only two Australian Cup favourites to win, including Humidor last year, which opens up the race to an upset again on the weekend.
Following Gailo Chop and Almandin in the markets are three other single-figure hopes including the aforementioned Howley-trained Sandown Classic winner The Taj Mahal ($7).
Now prepared down under, the four-year-old Galileo entire was a three and a half-length winner to break his maiden status in Australia third-up in the spring.
Ben Melham reunites with the former Irish-trained bay on Saturday first-up where The Taj Mahal is out to win over the 2000m distance for the first time at his eighth go.
Hartnell ($8) and Single Gaze ($8.50) are the other best in betting coming off third and second placings respectively in the Peter Young Stakes behind Gailo Chop.
Godolphin’s multiple Group 1 winner Hartnell won the Group 1 C.F. Orr Stakes (1400m) prior to that, where Nick Olive’s Caulfield Cup placed mare Single Gaze finished a luckless second, and will be better over 2000m (12:4-3-1) this weekend.
Single Gaze should also appreciate the rise in distance as the super-consistent daughter of Not A Single Doubt looks to break a winning drought going back to June last year in Brisbane.
2018 Australian Cup Betting
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