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2016 Melbourne Cup winner Almandin has been given 61kg top weight for the Open Handicap over 2040m at The Valley on Saturday.

Almandin, above, has been allocated the top weight for the Open Handicap at The Valley. Photo by Ultimate Racing Photos.

Almandin, above, has been allocated the top weight for the Open Handicap at The Valley. Photo by Ultimate Racing Photos.

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

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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