Almandin earnt ballot-exempt entry into the 2016 Melbourne Cup with an outstanding victory in the 2016 The Bart Cummings at Flemington this afternoon.
Damien Oliver gave Almandin a patient ride in transit, but the imported stayer was far too good for his rivals when Oliver asked him for an extra effort and he quickly put a gap on the rest of his rivals.
Oliver was impressed with the way that Almandin backed-up following his victory in the Listed Harry White Classic (2400m) at Caulfield last weekend and he was delighted with the way the Monsun galloper found the line.
“Lloyd Williams loves his stayers and he has done a good job this horse,” Oliver said.
“He was impressive last week, but he was up a bit in class today and he has done it again.
“That gets him into the Cup and I am sure that Lloyd will be happy.
“We had a good even run, there were a few stopping coming to the turn, but I got a good run through and he won comfortably.”
Almandin was purchased by the Macedon Lodge team of Lloyd Williams after he beat Protectionist in the Group 2 Grosser Preis Der Badischen Unternehmer (2212m) and he has had plenty of issues since heading to Australia.
Co-owner Nick Williams confirmed that Almandin would go straight into the Group 1 Melbourne Cup (3200m) on November 1 following his The Bart Cummings victory and he believes that the German import is a genuine light-weight chance.
“He has raced very well these last two weeks,” Williams said.
“He has had a lot of problems since he has been here – basically two weeks off the scene – and it is a credit to all the lads at the farm.
“Dad sent a very specific preparation for him that started before the winter and we ran him once a month through that period to get him some race craft.
“Once we got him up to a trip in these better races he seems to be improving each time.
“Hopefully in a little over four weeks he might improve a little bit again.
“It is a huge step-up in class the Melbourne Cup, but that is where he goes next and I can’t imagine we will give him another run.
“He is very lightly-weighted – he may get a small penalty from today, but I daresay he probably won’t because this is only a Group 3 race.
“He is a horse on the up and we are very excited.”
Almandin was far too strong for his rivals in The Bart Cummings, but Zanteca and Excess Knowledge both toughed it out to the line to finish in the placings.