Australian Thoroughbred

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Almandin set to contest Bart Cummings

Brent Zerafa

4 October, 2017

Almandin is set to run in Saturday's The Bart Cummings at Flemington, but what does that mean for his chances of running in the Caulfield Cup?

While such information is yet to be released by owner Lloyd Williams, it does cast some doubt as to whether he would back-up two weeks later when the ultimate goal is another Melbourne Cup.

Running in both Cups is clearly possible but racing on the fresh side, with runs evenly spaced with intervals of a month, has been the successful blueprint.

Williams sent a message to members of the media on Tuesday, indicating Almandin is likely to go around this weekend with Damien Oliver on board.

It was noted that Almandin is likely to be his only representative in the race.

The Bart Cummings is the race Almandin won last year and in doing so, he secured his place in the Melbourne Cup field.

Twelve months on, there is clearly no issue with him gaining a spot in the final 24 but he can definitely keep an emerging stayer out if he is able to win the ballot-exempt race.

The conditions of The Bart Cummings have Almandin carrying topweight of 60kg, which is a drop of 1kg from his last-start win and 6kg above the minimum.

He surged to favouritism for the Melbourne Cup on the back of the dominant performance in the JRA Trophy and rightly so when you look at the figures produced.

Form expert Daniel O'Sullivan, owner of The Ratings Bureau, believes his last-start win was better than his Melbourne Cup victory last year.

"The writing was on the wall after he returned with a 103 first-up. This win is a new peak - better than his Melbourne Cup win, where he had just 52kg to cart," O'Sullivan said.

"At 107 he's performing like a genuine G1 WFA horse. That was only second-up and he might still have more improvement to come. Despite the impost of 56.5kg in the Melbourne Cup, he now looks a serious chance of repeating."

With 56.5kg in the Caulfield Cup and no risk of gaining a penalty if he was to win, running in the $3 million race prior to the Melbourne Cup seems an attractive option.

But Williams has a penchant for Melbourne Cups and generally does what is best to have his horse right for the first Tuesday in November.

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