Zipping Classic head-to-head betting Almandin vs. Big Duke

Almandin vs Big Duke Zipping Classic

IT’S a showdown of the prodigiously talented Almandin and the never-say-die Big Duke in the final big-name race of Melbourne’s spring – the Zipping Classic.

Can the 2016 Melbourne Cup winner Almandin bounce back from its disappointing 12th-placed finish in this year’s edition, or can the Weir-trained bulldog Big Duke build on its hard-fought fourth placed finish on the first Tuesday of November?

We took a look at machinations for the glorified match-race and provided a guide for how we think the race will pan out.

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2017 Zipping Classic betting

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Almandin form

The market suggests punters are willing to forgive Almandin’s average Melbourne Cup defence. Photo:

After returning in top order this campaign, Almandin has hit somewhat of a roadblock.

The resuming run was terrific on August 26 and the second-up win in the JRA Trophy at Flemington was stunning, but it went pear-shaped from then on.

The German import went off as a even-money favourite in the Bart Cummings and failed to place, and the 2016 Melbourne Cup winner finished smack bang in the middle of the field in this year’s edition of the race that stops a nation.

Do we simply put those runs down as aberrations, or has the magic left the Lloyd Williams-owned runner?

Punters have rallied around Almandin, which has seen Sportsbet move the horse in slightly to $2.50 after opening the seven-year-old at $2.60, but is that faith justified?

Almandin is the $2.50 favourite to win the Zipping Classic at Sportsbet

Big Duke form

Big Duke
Darren Weir has a high opinion of his star stayer Big Duke

Big Duke has been up for awhile this preparation, but the one thing you can guarantee from the Weir stayer is maximum effort.

After two uninspiring runs back in September the six-year-old hit top gear and has not missed a first four in a quartet of subsequent races. Taking out the St Leger at Randwick was the only victory of the campaign, but the fourth placed finish in the Melbourne Cup was brilliant and indicative of a horse that will stay for days.

DK Weir himself was bullish after the Cup about Big Duke’s chances in the Zipping, joking that he would have let the horse run in the last race on Melbourne Cup day if the stewards let him. That tells you all you need to know about the horse’s ability to sustain effort over a long preparation.

Big Duke is paying $3.60 to win the Zipping Classic at Sportsbet

Almandin vs. Big Duke betting tip

This one promises to be an absolute barn-burner.

Almandin at its peak has a distinct class advantage on the field, but Big Duke will never let you down. What’s the old sporting cliche? “Hard work beats talent when talent won’t work hard”.

We think that will be the case on Saturday.

Big Duke looked sensational in the Melbourne Cup and gave everything it had to the line – it was just unfortunate that the first three had pinched a break on the six-year-old. Conversely, Almandin was flat as a tack and never looked like mounting a challenge.

Big Duke also ran a gallant second in The Metropolitan earlier in this preparation across the same distance. This horse just does not know how to throw in the towel and we are backing it to topple to the much more fancied rival at Sandown in the feature.

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