Cup winner returns, mini-Everest, and did you see this certainty beaten?

Tristan Rayner Editor

By Tristan Rayner, Tristan Rayner is a Roar Editor

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    Almandin coming down the straight. (AAP Image/Joe Castro)

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    Almandin starts a campaign for his Cup defence this Saturday, drawing Barrier 5 in a field of ten for a 2040m handicap at Moonee Valley.

    Lloyd Williams’ eight-year-old will lump with 61kgs, with Ben Melham on board for the first time.

    “I can’t offer much more than what anyone else knows about him,” Melham said.

    “I haven’t ridden him in any of his work but it’s a good opportunity to be riding the horse in his return run.”

    Almandin is surprisingly short in markets given he’s first-up for a year, well in the market at $6.50.

    There are some other smart stayers resuming, including another Williams stayer in Hans Holbein. He went through the grades last season and his last win on a soft track at Flemington was by eight lengths.

    Both Williams horses are likely to need a run, but it wouldn’t surprise to see them run big races.

    Other notable chances include Pacodali, who gets in well despite a string of wins, and favourite Second Bullet, who returned well first-up and should be well in this race, but drew out in Barrier 10 and will likely need to come from the back on a tight circuit.

    Bad ride on a favourite, bad luck, or protest worthy?
    Good thing Floki went to Muswellbrook on Tuesday after an eight-length maiden win at Scone. Yet the horse was a $1.28 shot beaten, and the biggest surprise post-race came in that after reviewing footage, a protest wasn’t lodged at all.

    Take a look at Floki and rider Josh Adams, wearing navy blue silks with white bands, and a red cap. Pre-race, trainer Ben Smith indicated he wanted the horse to sit behind the leaders and follow, to continue his education for longer races.

    It all went horribly wrong in a bunched field, as the footage shows.

    Head-on of the debacle:

    Watch for the shifts to keep the horse boxed in and be amazed no protests were lodged, with stewards declaring correct weight, and no further action!

    Chautauqua, She Will Reign in trial battle
    Two of the biggest name sprinters in Australia will clash on Friday, but it won’t be for cash just yet. Chautauqua and She Will Reign are both listed to trial over 800m at Warwick Farm on Friday, as they head towards the $10 million Everest race.

    Also lined up to trial is Single Bullet, Joe Pride’s Terravista, and Kris Lee’s Doncaster winner, It’s Somewhat.

    She Will Reign’s trainer, Gary Portelli, said he won’t be asking too much of the filly just yet in what’s been dubbed a ‘mini Everest’.

    “I know that she will be very competitive, she can’t help herself, she has to win everything,” Portelli said.

    “I imagine she will be out there to win the trial for herself but we won’t be pushing her too hard to do it.

    “I’d still like to see her win the trial for the simple fact winners like to win. Mentally it will keep her in good place.

    “But all these horses will be out to have an easy trial.

    “Everyone will be expecting to see something special on Friday but Joe Pride is giving his horse an easy trial, I want to give her an easy trial, Chautauqua will have an easy one and my other bloke [Single Bullet] will be having an easy time too.”

    Portelli told Racing NSW that She Will Reign is more horse this time around, putting on more than 40 kilograms to clock in at 498kg, and will only drop to 490kg to race.

    “She’s thicker and wider through the hips, stronger through the shoulder you find she has more muscle mass,” he said.

    “I think she was immature and was still able to beat the hoses that were mature so I’m pretty excited to see what she does in this preparation.”

    Cup watch
    Melbourne Cup watch continues, with Red Cardinal putting in a fairly plain run in the Prix Kergolay to be fifth. It hasn’t upset any plans just yet – the early market favourite ran at the back and didn’t do much down the straight, but was never asked for a supreme effort.

    Jamie Lovett of Australian Bloodstock told Punters that he’s all set to go into quarantine for the journey across:

    “He’ll go into quarantine in a few weeks and he’ll run in the Herbert Power. We weren’t overly concerned with his run the other day (in the Prix Kergorlay).

    “He got back and there was no tempo but in saying that I probably would’ve liked him to finish off a touch better. He pulled up like he’d had a run so he might have just needed the hit-out off a freshen-up.”

    Japanese horse Mount Robson, who was mentioned in passing as a possible Cup horse, finished down the track in Sunday’s Sapporo Kinen. It’s unclear as to what he will do next.

    In better news for the Cup, Wall Of Fire managed a fine second placing in the Geoffrey Freer Stakes for trainer Hugo Palmer and Australian connections, and should also head Down Under.

    Tristan Rayner
    Tristan Rayner

    Tristan is a writer, consultant, racing enthusiast and former Editor of The Roar who has turned the Melbourne Cup into a year-round study via

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    The Crowd Says (7)

    • August 25th 2017 @ 8:14am
      Razzar said | August 25th 2017 @ 8:14am | ! Report

      No grounds for prostest for mine Tristan.

      Floki was mainly looking for runs that weren’t there, until the fence option opened up. It was a clear gap, but poor Floki and punters, then layed in all over fence, jamming so hard against it; checked himself.

      What a duffer; another one for my White Book.

    • Roar Guru

      August 25th 2017 @ 10:18am
      kv joef said | August 25th 2017 @ 10:18am | ! Report

      agree with razzar, anyway, a protest gives the race to the second horse … winning rider gets 9 days … what i was stunned by was the running rails straight line. look at when adams goes for that first run at the 300 … there is room until the running rail juts out 8cm at the join – Floki is slung back behind the leader. Not racing previous pressure that deformed the line … it was there in the first … i thought stewards used to check those things – probably too busy with tea and scones.

      Talking of the bush, a friend tells me to take a look at the last at Gundedah last monday . Apparently in the interview after the race Greg Ryan said he thought he was going to run a good second on the heavily supported fav — maybe the jock of the 2nd horse needs to tidy up his style a little … you know, sit a bit more over the wither, centre of gravity and all that … probably a good idea NOT to pull your horses head around particularly that close to the line … horse might think ‘race over’ … anyway if he takes that on board, watches a few technically accomplished riders he might improve his 5% career SR or at least the 3% of the last 2 years. PS the 1/2 horses didn’t bump at any stage.

      Nunthorpe tonight Lady Aurelia v, Bataash …

      • August 25th 2017 @ 3:15pm
        Razzar said | August 25th 2017 @ 3:15pm | ! Report

        KV not sure if knew, but another book on Tulluch has been released this month if your interested?

        Just getting back to hard luck stories. In 86 i think it was, Campaign King was sitting a two pairs back from Special, at the Valley, probly Mior Stakes…Before straightening CK pulls out, no gap. Ducks backs inside, no gap. Then gap opens, doing 2 to Special’s 1, he goes down by a head.

      • Editor

        August 25th 2017 @ 8:56pm
        Tristan Rayner said | August 25th 2017 @ 8:56pm | ! Report

        Good to get your thoughts Razzar and KV – I’d have been interested in how the stewards would’ve seen it with Floki.

    • Roar Guru

      August 25th 2017 @ 6:17pm
      kv joef said | August 25th 2017 @ 6:17pm | ! Report

      No. i didn’t know Razzar. Funny talking about hard luck stories and with you bringing up Tulloch..

      Tulloch was a magnificent animal and raced against v.serious horses. When he won the CaulCup as a 3yrold in world’s best grass time for 2400m+a little … the 3rd horse Sailor’s guide although beaten 3L gave him 26lbs (11.5 kg). Tulloch beat him again a few weeks later by 5L at WFA receiving 23lbs (10.5kg) but Sailors Guide managed to turn it around during the Autumn in one of the ‘legend’ races of the Post-war era beating both Prince Darius and Tulloch with a whisker covering the 3; SG was giving the autumn 3yrolds only 15lbs (7kg).

      Sailors Guide went to the U.S and started in that day’s equivalent of the Breeders Cup Classic, the Washington DC Invitational. He was beaten 3.5L into 2nd place by a competent horse in Tudor Era (20+wins) but got the race on protest after the stewards viewed the film … now that’s what i call serious impediment turning around 3.5L … those stewards must have had huge jangleees. But a most interesting point was that Ballymoss, that years Arc winner ran third.

      • Editor

        August 25th 2017 @ 8:59pm
        Tristan Rayner said | August 25th 2017 @ 8:59pm | ! Report

        KV – found some footage of that race – could’ve been 5 lengths!

        • Roar Guru

          August 26th 2017 @ 9:17am
          kv joef said | August 26th 2017 @ 9:17am | ! Report

          Probably you are right about that strict U.S interpretation was applied here … mind you Tristan … Josh would have had to have alleged ‘intimidation’ …

          here is the american clip + commentary of 1958 SG, you can see the bump on the turn – put into the bushes … sholudn’t have started looking me looking at youtube tristan, ended looking at the old newsreel clips of some of the game’s legends and good horses … for the 100th time 🙂

          anyway, figure Floki is going to make a mess of a few ‘highways’ in coming months.

          see another 2 bit-the-dust last night … the euro best-sprinter musical chairs continues …

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