Williams to Decide Almandin Cup Defense after Weights Assigned

Almandin, winner of the 2016 Melbourne Cup may be getting a bit long in the tooth, but owner Lloyd Williams may bring him back to Flemington in November to defend, depending on how much weight Almandin draws. Racing Victoria handicapper Greg Carpenter will thus have a large degree on influence.

Almandin will take to the Moonee Valley turf on Saturday and run at 2040 m with Ben Melham aboard. In the speculative futures markets, the eight-year-old is on the second line of the TAB, with a quote of $21.

Almandin is an x factor for the fact that he has made only 12 starts and did not race for two years between June of 2014 and June of 2016 because of a tendon injury sustained shortly after being relocated from Germany to Australia. He was back on the track for only three months prior to winning the Cup in 2016. He first won the Listed quality Harry White Classic at 2400 m at Caulfield and 2500 m Group 3 Bart Cummings at Flemington in October of 2016, but prior to those two wins and the Cup, he would have been described as adequate at best.

Should Almandin draw top weight this year, as did another Williams’ horse, Order Of St George, it is possible that Williams will seek other venues for Almandin. Melbourne Cup weights will be announced in mid-September.

Williams is emptying out the stables for Saturday’s meeting at Moonee Valley. Bondi Beach, Aloft, Hans Holbein, Granddukeoftuscany (note to editor: we are charging you extra for that one), and Kilimanjaro.

Williams is eyeing his sixth Melbourne Cup win. He heads the list of owners to have claimed the Cup, dating back to 1981 with Just A Dash, What A Nuisance in 1985, Efficient in 2007, Green Moon in 2012 and Almandin in 2016. The 1981 win with Just A Dash was the second and last time a T.J. Smith prepared horse won the Melbourne Cup.

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