Almoonqith to try shorter Sandown contest

Almoonqith will attempt a second Sandown victory after running in the Melbourne Cup.

This time the Lindsay Park-trained stayer tackles the Zipping Classic over 2400 metres rather than the 3200m-Sandown Cup which he won last year, although he is among nominations again.

Almoonqith finished sixth behind Almandin and Heartbreak City in the Melbourne Cup in what co-trainer David Hayes described as possibly a career high.

Hayes, who trains in partnership with his son Ben and nephew Tom Dabernig, says Almoonqith will be ridden by Damien Oliver on Saturday.

“He’s come out of the Melbourne Cup really well and I think the mile-and-a-half is perfect for him,” Hayes said.

“He loomed up as though he was going to run third in the Cup but possibly the 3200 metres in that class was a bit beyond him.

“However I thought it was one of his better runs since he’s been with us.”

After running 18th behind Prince Of Penzance in last year’s Melbourne Cup, Almoonqith went on to defeat The Offer and Grand Marshal in the Sandown Cup under Michael Walker.

Despite that success Hayes and the Lindsay Park team are not sure he runs out a strong 3200m.

“The Zipping Classic is worth more money and the weight will be against him in the Sandown Cup as well,” Hayes said.

A total of 15 horses have been nominated for the Zipping Classic.

The race is named in honour of the Lloyd Williams-owned stayer who won the event on four consecutive occasions from 2007 to 2010.

The Williams team has entered Melbourne Cup winner Almandin along with its other Cup runners Assign, Bondi Beach and Gallante.

Bondi Beach, who ran for Irish trainer Aidan O’Brien in the Cup, has switched to Williams’ Macedon Lodge and the care of Robert Hickmott.

Other international Melbourne Cup runners entered include Godolphin pair Beautiful Romance and Secret Number and Michael Bell’s Big Orange while Chris Waller has Cup fifth placegetter Who Shot Thebarman trying for repeat victories.

So Si Bon is the only three-year-old entered, attempting to follow the victory of Count Ricardo in 2004 after running in the Victoria Derby.

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