The countdown to the Sydney Spring Racing...
The 2016 Melbourne Cup winner Almandin was back to his staying best in Sydney on Easter Saturday winning the Tancred Stakes over the mile and a half at Rosehill ahead of a likely Sydney Cup 2018 bid during ‘The Championships’.
Ridden by hoop Kerrin McEvoy for the first time since the two combined to take out the iconic Group 1 Melbourne Cup (3200m) on the first Tuesday of November two years back.
Since then, the Lloyd Williams-owned Almandin had enjoyed just the one win, but the gallant old eight-year-old was back to winning form in the Group 1 $1.5 million Tancred Stakes (2400m) third-up.
“He’s a beauty,” co-owner Nick Williams said after the race.
“The horse was just too good for them and it was a very dominant win I thought.
“We’re happy to come up here [to Sydney]. It’s a great carnival and he’s a great horse.”
Coming off the close fourth to Harlem in Flemington’s Group 1 Australian Cup (2000m), the son of Monsun relished the step-up in distance and also enjoyed going the Sydney way of racing for the first time since his transfer from Europe according to McEvoy.
“He travelled really well,” McEvoy said.
“He enjoyed the ground out there and he enjoyed going right-handed. He hadn’t been that way in a while and it looked to be a nice change for him.
“It’s great to see him back in winning form.
“Well done to Lloyd and his team. They said he was in good order…and he proved that today.”
After being brilliant out of the barriers, McEvoy found himself a little closer up on the pace than originally expected aboard Almandin who was in a forward position in second outside the leader.
Race favourite and last weekend’s Ranvet Stakes winner, the Darren Weir-trained Gailo Chop was first into stride and crossed to take up front running.
The always-honest Nick Olive-trained mare Single Gaze coming off a second in the Ranvet had the blinkers back on and was third the fence after settling, while Anthony Freedman’s Japanese import Ambitious was racing in fifth at just his second Australian start.
The race roughie, Lee Curtis’s former VRC Oaks winner Lasqueti Spirit had been hard ridden from the jump and raced around the field to eventually serve it up to Gailo Chop and take the lead from the favourite.
At the 950m, Ambitious was starting to pick up ground moving into a closer position.
Gailo Chop made a move to take the lead going around the turn as the midrace mover Lasqueti Spirit quickly dropped out, but Almandin was going after the top fancy.
Just outside the final 100m, market mover Almandin ($3) and McEvoy hit the front and charged home for a terrific win ahead of Ambitious ($21) who improved on his ninth in the Australian Cup.
Rounding out the Tancred Stakes trifecta in third after coming with a huge late run was Chris Waller’s fast-finishing nine-year-old Who Shot Thebarman ($51).
All three stayers are likely to face off again on April 14 at Royal Randwick over the two miles in the Group 1 $2 million Sydney Cup (3200m).
“Absolutely, that’s been the plan,” Williams said of Almandin’s Sydney Cup target.
“He has a lot of weight in the Sydney Cup, but we’ll wait and see.”
Niwot (4th in 2012) was the last Sydney Cup winner to back-up off a run in the Tancred Stakes.
Following the Tancred Stakes results, the winner Almandin firmed in from $7.50 to $3.50 favouritism in pre-field Sydney Cup odds at Ladbrokes.com.au.
Also firming in those futures Sydney Cup betting markets were Ambitious ($34 into $9) and Who Shot Thebarman ($26 into $9.50) having his incredible fifth shot at the race.
2018 Tancred Stakes Results & Finishing Order
Rosehill Race 6 – 31/03/2018
|1||2||ALMANDIN (GER)||Liam Howley||Kerrin McEvoy||–||9||59kg||$3|
|2||3||AMBITIOUS (JPN)||Anthony Freedman||Craig Williams||1.3L||3||59kg||$21|
|3||5||WHO SHOT THEBARMAN (NZ)||Chris Waller||Tye Angland||1.4L||8||59kg||$61|
|4||1||GAILO CHOP (FR)||Darren Weir||Mark Zahra||1.6L||7||59kg||$2.30F|
|5||9||SINGLE GAZE||Nick Olive||Ms Kathy O’Hara||2L||1||57kg||$7|
|6||6||AUVRAY (FR)||Richard Freedman||Jason Collett||2.3L||2||59kg||$21|
|7||4||HARLEM (GB)||David & B Hayes & T Dabernig||Michael Walker||3.2L||6||59kg||$21|
|8||8||VENTURA STORM (IRE)||David & B Hayes & T Dabernig||Damien Oliver||5.4L||4||59kg||$21|
|9||10||LASQUETI SPIRIT||Lee Curtis||Jay Ford||6.7L||5||56.5kg||$151|
|–||7||LIBRAN (IRE)||Chris Waller||Brenton Avdulla||–||0||–||–|
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