Oct 30 2017
Five-time Melbourne Cup winning owner Lloyd Williams has been inundated with text messages for the ride on Almandin following the suspension of Damien Oliver.
Jockeys from Hong Kong, Singapore and Australia are chasing the ride after Oliver was outed on an improper riding charge aboard Happy Clapper in Saturday's Cox Plate.
Oliver has lodged an appeal against the ban which would keep him out until November 16 with the Racing Appeals and Disciplinary Board to hear his case on Monday afternoon.
Almandin shares $7 favouritism with Cox Plate runner-up Humidor and is seeking back-to-back Cup victories following last year's success under Kerrin McEvoy.
"I'll have to have a think about what's best for the horse with 56.5 kilos," Williams said.
"It's not much point putting on someone that weighs 52 (kilos).
"Steve Arnold is an example. He would have been my first pick but he's in Mauritius riding short-course horses which isn't the ideal practice for a Melbourne Cup.
"It's not the end of the world. I'm sure someone will want to ride it."
Williams said he had received many text messages including one from Singapore-based Michael Rodd who won the 2007 Melbourne Cup for Williams on Efficient.
"I haven't spoken to Michael for two or three years and he sent me a nice text saying he would love to do an Efficient for me again," Williams said.
Williams is unsure how many Cup runners will wear his navy blue silks and to date only two riders have been locked away.
Corey Brown will ride the Joseph O'Brien-trained Rekindling and Ben Melham the Caulfield Cup placegetter Johannes Vermeer trained by Joseph's father Aidan.
"There will be three here at Werribee (quarantine centre). Then at home there's three or four we'd like to run but it depends where they are in the order of entry," Williams said.
"We'll have a few of them but we might not have any riders."
Williams was at Werribee on Sunday morning, firstly to see Johannes Vermeer go through his paces and then Rekindling and US Army Ranger.
"Rekindling is a tough little fellow. He's had a long season but he looks well," Williams said.
"He's put on weight since he's been here which is a good sign.
"US Army Ranger, he is a good sort.
"Aidan (O'Brien) keeps on saying I should get the best available jockey because he's going to surprise you.
"He's got a very good opinion of him."
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