Trainer David Hayes is hoping his imported stayer Almoonqith can break Damien Oliver’s winning drought when the pair line up in the Group 2 $300,000 Quayclean Zipping Classic (2400m) at Sandown on Saturday.
Oliver hasn’t been in the winner’s stall since he scored on Eleonora in the Group 3 $150,000 New Zealand Bloodstock Ethereal Stakes (2000m) at Caulfield on October 15 but did miss a big slice of the Spring Carnival through suspension.
Stewards suspended the three times Melbourne Cup winner for twenty meetings for reckless riding for his winning on Flying Artie in the Group 3 $350,000 Catanach’s Jewellers Blue Sapphire Stakes (1200m) at Caulfield on October 12.
Oliver commenced his suspension at midnight on October 15 and was back in the saddle on Melbourne Cup Day.
Hayes, who trains in partnership with his son Ben and nephew Tom Dabernig at Lindsay Park, said that he was happy to team up with Oliver who would be very hungry to get back into the winner’s stall.
“We’ve got D Oliver on board. D Oliver I don’t think has ridden a city winner for a month and I love getting him at this stage because when that champion is hungry it is time to put him on,” Hayes said.
Hayes has reported that Almoonqith has come through a tough run last start that saw him finish sixth to Almandin in the Group 1 $6m Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m) at Flemington on November 1 and thinks he will be hard to beat in the Zipping Classic.
“He was really good in the Cup,” Hayes said.
“We thought he ran fourth actually and just got found out late to run sixth.”
“I think really well placed here.”
The imported stayer has won twice for Lindsay Park during the 2015 Melbourne Spring Carnival with wins in the Group 3 $300,000 Geelong Cup (2400m) at Geelong and in the Listed $150,000 Sandown Cup (3200m) at Sandown.
Almoonqith has been unplaced at five runs this campaign with his best effort being a fourth to Jameka in the Group 1 $3m BMW Caulfield Cup (2400m) at Caulfield on October 15.
In an open betting race at Ladbrokes.com.au, Almoonqith is listed at $5.50 for the Zipping Classic while last year’s winner Who Shot Thebarman heads the market order at $3.30.
Also under the $10 mark in the eight horse field are Robbie Laing’s three year old So Si Bon at $4.20, and English stayers Big Orange at $4.80 and Beautiful Romance at $6.