2016 Melbourne Cup winner Almandin has been given 61kg top weight for the Open Handicap over 2040m at The Valley on Saturday.
If owner Lloyd Williams and trainer Robert Hickmott decide to kick off Almandin’s 2017 Spring Carnival and his possible defence of his Melbourne Cup Crown this Saturday, the eight year old will be having his first run back since winning last year’s Group 1 $6m Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m) at Flemington on the first Tuesday in November.
Williams said he deliberately missed an Autumn Carnival campaign to give Almandin plenty of time to get over his tough 2016 Spring Carnival campaign that also saw the German import win the Listed $120,000 italktravel Harry White Classic (2400m) at Caulfield and the Group 3 $300,000 The Bart Cummings (2500m) at Flemington.
“Almandin looks very well,” Williams told The Sydney Morning Herald.
“He is in good order, we didn’t race him in the autumn. It’s one of my theories, to give them an easier time. Hopefully we can bring him back for a second go.”
Williams and Hickmott have also nominated European imports Aloft, Hans Holbein and Grandddukeoftuscany for the Open Handicap at The Valley.
Aloft has been given 58kg and is coming off a first up win in a 2000m Handicap at Flemington on August 5, Hans Holbein has 55.5kg and hasn’t raced since winning over 2500m at Flemington on April 25 and Granddukeoftuscany in the lightest weighted horse from the stable with 54kg.
The Danny O’Brien trained Second Bullet was runner up to Aloft at Flemington and has been allocated 56kg for Saturday.
Victoria’s premier trainer Darren Weir has four horses nominated for the Handicap at The Valley, Killarney Kid (58.5kg), Pacodali (54.5kg), Ruling Dynasty (54kg) and Loresho (54kg).
Nominations for the Open Handicap (2040m)
|#||Last 10||Horse||Sex||Age||Trainer||Ballot||Weight||Hcp Rating|
|1||21x665111x||ALMANDIN (GER)||G||8||Robert Hickmott||1||61kg||114|
|2||2111×69537||KILLARNEY KID (NZ)||G||8||Darren Weir||2||58.5kg||101|
|3||x7x39x12x1||ALOFT (IRE)||G||6||Robert Hickmott||3||58kg||100|
|4||30x533x0x0||FOUNDATION (IRE)||G||5||David & B Hayes & T Dabernig||4||57.5kg||99|
|5||5x166214x2||SECOND BULLET||G||7||Danny O’Brien||5||56kg||96|
|6||8x00x4131x||HANS HOLBEIN (GB)||G||6||Robert Hickmott||6||55.5kg||95|
|7||x186x31511||PACODALI (IRE)||G||5||Darren Weir||7||54.5kg||93|
|8||x522x0121x||TIME TO TEST||G||7||Tony McEvoy||8||54.5kg||93|
|9||9906x500x0||RULING DYNASTY||G||6||Darren Weir||9||54kg||89|
|10||11213×0094||LORESHO (FR)||H||7||Darren Weir||10||54kg||89|
|11||542050×008||SWACADELIC (GER)||G||7||Aaron Purcell||11||54kg||87|
|12||19×0607935||LORD DURANTE||G||9||Simone Ferchie||12||54kg||86|
|13||09400×0200||ROSE OF VIRGINIA (NZ)||M||8||Lee & Shannon Hope||13||54kg||85|
|14||3421733117||ALAMONTEEL (NZ)||M||5||Patrick Payne||14||54kg||84|
|15||3724×41111||BALF’S CHOICE||G||5||Ryan Balfour||15||54kg||84|
|16||2352177×09||HIPPARCHUS (GB)||G||6||Chris Waller||16||54kg||84|
|17||4×77125763||DUKE OF ELLINGTON (FR)||G||6||Ciaron Maher||17||54kg||79|
|18||1244393×82||LONDON FOG||G||6||Symon Wilde||18||54kg||75|
|19||16x9x56442||GRANDDUKEOFTUSCANY (IRE)||G||7||Robert Hickmott||19||54kg||75|
|20||307×900622||ELECTRIC FUSION||G||8||Trudi Christie||20||54kg||74|
|21||03211×2636||BLING DYNASTY||G||7||Paul Preusker||21||54kg||73|
|22||61416x447x||DOC HOLLIDAY||G||5||Symon Wilde||22||54kg||72|
|23||07x9x00090||CAN’T REFUSE (NZ)||G||7||Kelvin Bourke||23||54kg||71|
|24||31x63x6841||NOT TO KNOW||G||7||Mitchell Freedman||24||54kg||69|
|25||100×40261||EUREKA STREET||G||4||Robert Smerdon||25||54kg||66|