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2016 Melbourne Cup winner Almandin is one of three Lloyd Williams owned stayers among the nominations for the Group 2 $300,000 Zipping Classic (2400m) at Sandown on Saturday.

Almandin , the winner of the 2016 Melbourne Cup, above, is among the nominations for the 2017 Zipping Classic at Sandown. Photo by Ultimate Racing Photos.

Almandin , the winner of the 2016 Melbourne Cup, above, is among the nominations for the 2017 Zipping Classic at Sandown. Photo by Ultimate Racing Photos.

The Robert Hickmott trained stablemates Assign and The Taj Mahal are also likely to contest the weight for age contest that is named after one of Williams’ old warhorses, Zipping, who had the race named in his honour after winning it four times from 2007 to 2010 when it was called the Sandown Classic.

Williams is keen to run Almandin in the Zipping Classic after the eight year had no luck last start when twelfth to Rekindling in the this year’s Group 1 $6.25m Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m) at Flemington last Tuesday.

“I am going to run Almandin, I am going to run The Taj Mahal and I am going to run perhaps Assign in the Zipping Classic,” Williams told RSN 927.

“I am going to have Damien Oliver, Ben Melham and Kerrin McEvoy.”

Almandin had fair form in the lead up to the Melbourne Cup with a win in the Listed $120,000 Japan Racing Association Trophy (2500m) at Flemington on September 16 before finishing fourth to Amelie’s Star in the Group 3 $300,000 The Bart Cummings (2500m) at Flemington on October 7.

The Taj Mahal is coming off a last start fourth to Tosen Stardom in the Group 1 $2m Emirates Stakes (2000m) at Flemington last Saturday while Assign was a last start fifth to the Darren Weir trained Kiwia in the Group 3 $150,000 Priceline Pharmacy Coongy Cup (2000m) at Caulfield on October 21.

Leading Victorian trainer Darren Weir has only one entry for the Zipping Classic, Big Duke, who was a winner three starts back in the $500,000 Heineken 3 St Leger Stakes (2600m) at Randwick on October 14 before finishing fourth to Who Shot Thebarman in the Group 2 $300,000 McCafe Moonee Valley Gold Cup (2500m) at The Valley on October 28 and then fourth to Rekindling in the Melbourne Cup.

Warrnambool trainer Symon Wilde has nominated his improving stayer Dodging Bullets who is the winner of his last two starts, the latest being the $100,000 Kyneton Cup (2000m) at Kyneton on November 8.

Nominations for the Zipping Classic have been extended until 10am on Tuesday November 14, 2017, after only nine horses were entered today.

Nominations for the 2017 Zipping Classic (2400m)

# Last 10 Horse Sex Age Trainer Hcp Rating
1 65111×2140 ALMANDIN (GER) G 8 Robert Hickmott 111
2 210x71x045 ASSIGN (IRE) G 7 Robert Hickmott 103
3 73×0000295 BERISHA G 6 Robert Smerdon 95
4 13×5502144 BIG DUKE (IRE) G 6 Darren Weir 107
5 3x3116x598 CONSOMMATEUR (NZ) M 5 Michael Kent 92
6 6x68830x49 DANDY GENT G 6 Terry & Karina O’Sullivan 82
7 243×643211 DODGING BULLETS G 6 Symon Wilde 93
8 167×162255 NOZOMI G 6 Anthony Freedman 94
9 2244692504 THE TAJ MAHAL (IRE) H 4 Robert Hickmott 103


About The Author

Mark Mazzaglia

Mark is a passionate journalist with a life-time involvement in the racing industry. He spent many years as an analyst and form expert at the Courier Mail and also has hands-on experience working with some of Queensland’s top trainers.


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