2018

Import Ready To Make Gr1 Impact

Wednesday, 16th May 2018

The Anthony Freedman yard are bullish about the chances of Japanese import Ambitious claiming his maiden Group 1 success in Saturday's Doomben Cup (2000m) in Brisbane. Ambitious (Deep Impact) faces a huge class drop after his last-start performance when eighth behind Winx in the Gr1 Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m) in Sydney when nothing went right for him in the run. He had previously shown his class when finishing an unlucky second to Almandin in the Gr1 Tancred Stakes (2400m) at Randwick. "We certainly think he's got a very good chance of winning a race like this," Freedman's racing manager Brad Taylor told racing.com. "We put him in the QE thinking he was a good chance after his run in the Tancred, but he didn't get all favours - he lost three shoes in running in the QE, which doesn't help any horses." Taylor added: "If everything goes to plan on Saturday, he should be a big chance. He'll certainly get his chance to win a Group 1 in Australia."

Doomben Cup Goal for Ambitious

Tuesday, 24th April 2018

Trainer Anthony Freedman says Queensland's weather will determine whether or not talented Japanese import Ambitious makes an appearance over the winter carnival. Freedman is keen to run the son of Deep Impact in the Gr1 Doomben Cup (2000m) on 19 May provided the track is not rain affected. Freedman says Ambitious' last start performance when eighth behind Winx in the Gr1 Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m) should be ignored when nothing went right for him in the run. He had previously shown his class when finishing an unlucky second to Almandin in the Gr1 Tancred Stakes (2400m) at Randwick. "He's been up there about a week," Freedman told racing.com. "I was really happy with the way he came through the Queen Elizabeth. He lost shoes and it all went terribly wrong the other day but he's still in good shape and the plan is certainly to head towards the Doomben Cup." Freedman added: "If we get wet tracks he certainly won't run. He'll just take a break up there but if we get the right track, he'll certainly be running."

Gr1 Sydney Cup Final Field & Barriers

Wednesday, 11th April 2018

The final field has been declared and the barrier draw conducted for the $2 million Group 1 Sydney Cup (3200m) to be run at Royal Randwick this Saturday. First run in 1866, the Sydney Cup has been won by horses such as Carbine (1889 & 90), Wakeful (1902), Galilee (1966), Apollo Eleven (1973), Battle Heights (1974), Kingston Town (1980), Count Chivas (1996), Tie The Knot (1998 & 99), and the legendary Makybe Diva (2004). This year the dominant $4 TAB favourite is Almandin. The Lloyd Williams-owned Almandin shot to the top of Sydney Cup markets after scoring a comfortable win in the time-honoured weight-for-age feature, the Gr1 Tancred Stakes (2400m) two weeks ago. It was the first Gr1 triumph for the German-bred import since winning the Melbourne Cup (3200m) in 2016. Almandin, who has drawn perfectly in barrier 5, is followed in the market by Kiwi stayer Sir Charles Road at $7, Aloft at $8, Prestwick at $11, and Ventura Storm and Auvray each at $13.

Consensus Is QE Placing Will Suffice

Wednesday, 11th April 2018

Trainer Stephen McKee is under no illusions about taking on Winx in Saturday's $4 million Group 1 Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m) at Randwick with Kiwi mare Consensus, reports NZ Racing Desk. "I don't see it as running against Winx. I see it as the $755,000 [prize money] for running second," McKee said. "Gailo Chop and all the other good ones will be there, but the breakdown of prize-money is great and the track should be good, which will suit our mare." A winner of last year's Gr1 Zabeel Classic (2000m), Consensus has been in good form this season recording a runner-up finish in the Gr1 Captain Cook Stakes (1600m), a fourth in the Gr1 Zabeel Classic, and most recently a second behind Devise in the Gr1 WFA Classic (1600m) at Hastings. "She's got a lot of black type so she's really got nothing left to prove at home," McKee said. Most recently, the 6YO finished a respectable fourth behind Almandin in the Gr1 Ranvet Stakes (2000m) at Rosehill in her first Australian appearance. "She came through the race well and she had a nice hit-out this morning with Jason Collett on board," McKee said. "This race fits in well for the mare before she goes to Brisbane." Consensus' primary winter target is the Gr1 Doomben Cup (2000m) on 19 May.

Almandin Wins Gr1 Tancred Stakes

Tuesday, 3rd April 2018

The Lloyd Williams-owned Almandin (Monsun-Anatola, by Tiger Hill) returned to his brilliant best when outstaying his rivals in the $500,000 Gr1 Tancred Stakes (2400m) at Rosehill Gardens on Saturday. The 2016 Melbourne Cup winner proved too strong for his rivals in the time-honoured weight-for-age feature, defeating Japanese import Ambitious & Who Shot Thebarman by 1.3 lengths. The 8YO German-bred gelding is now the $3.50 TAB favourite for the $2 million Gr1 Sydney Cup (3200m) at Royal Randwick on 14 April. "It's pleasing to get back on him. He was in great shape today and it's good to see him bounce back at the top level," said Kerrin McEvoy, who was reunited with Almandin for the first time since guiding him to his Melbourne Cup success. "He travelled a bit more forward than I thought we might be but he travelled really well and he was strong at the end of the 2400 metres today." Almandin advanced his record to 7 wins (including the Gr1 Melbourne Cup, Gr2 Grosser Preis der Badischen Unternehmer, Gr3 Bart Cummings Handicap & Listed Japan Racing Association Trophy) and 7 placings from 20 starts for $5,301,091 in earnings.

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Almandin (image: Steve Hart)

Sydney Cup Weights Released

Tuesday, 27th February 2018

A total of 117 nominations have been weighted for the 153rd running of the $2 million Gr1 Sydney Cup (3200m) to be run at Royal Randwick on day two of The Championships on Saturday, 14th April. Among the entries are nine horses that competed in last year's Melbourne Cup, including winner Rekindling and runner-up Johannes Vermeer. Fame Game, one of nine entries from Japan, has been allocated top weight of 58kg on a 50kg limit (49kg for 3YOs). The second-highest weighted horse is 2016 Melbourne Cup winner Almandin with 57kg, while 2017 Melbourne Cup quinella Rekindling (winner) and Johannes Vermeer (2nd) are next with 56.5kg. The highest weighted mares are Single Gaze and Lizzie L'Amour with 53kg. Click here to view full weights for Sydney Cup.

Homesman Wins Listed Mornington Cup Prelude

Monday, 26th February 2018

At Caulfield in Melbourne, 4YO US-bred gelding Homesman (War front-My Annette, by Red Ransom) made an auspicious start to his Australian career when scoring a hard-fought win in the $120,000 Listed Mornington Cup Prelude (2000m) for 3YO+, defeating stable-mate and 2016 Melbourne Cup winner Almandin & Golden Mane. Racing in the familiar navy blue and white silks of leviathan owner Lloyd Williams, Homesman improved his record to 3 wins (including the Gr3 Gallinule Stakes in Ireland) and 3 placings from 8 starts for $314,874 in earnings. Part-owner Nick Williams said Homesman could make his next appearance in the Gr1 Australian Cup (2000m) at Flemington on 10 March. "He could join Almandin in the Australian Cup after that," Williams told racing.com. "I'm sure he'll appreciate the big track at Flemington. For Homesman's first run here, it was very, very exciting."

2017

Counterattack to Diversify German Bloodlines

Thursday, 30th November 2017

Following the recent announcement that multiple Gr1 placed Australian sprinter Counterattack will shuttle from Kitchwin Hills in the Hunter Valley to Gestut Karlshof in Germany, Gestut's manager, Holger Faust, has revealed that the decision to acquire the son of Redoute's Choice was a deliberate effort to diversify the country's bloodlines. "We consider ourselves lucky as a German stud to get such a young and interesting stallion as Counterattack," Faust said in an interview with Racing Post. "Germany is famous for stayers like Protectionist, Novellist, Danedream, Manduro, Schiaparelli, Shirocco, Samum, Almandin and many, many others." He added: "But in the last 20 years Big Shuffle and his son Areion, who were faster horses, have won around half of the German champion sire titles with an outstandingly high number of stakes winners and black-type performers. So I think Counterattack will be a perfect fit for German and French broodmares." From the winning Snippets mare Kisma, Counterattack is bred on the same cross as champion Australian sire Snitzel and is a half-brother to dual Gr1 winning filly Red Tracer and Gr1 Galaxy winning colt Shellscrape. A winner of the Gr3 BTC Classic, Counterattack was also placed at the elite level in the Gr1 Doomben Ten Thousand, Gr1 Coolmore Stud Stakes and Gr1 Darley Kingsford-Smith Cup. Counterattack's northern hemisphere fee has been set at €6,500.

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Counterattack (image: Steve Hart)

The Taj Mahal Wins Gr2 Zipping Classic

Monday, 20th November 2017

At Sandown in Melbourne, former Coolmore shuttler and triple Gr1-winning champion European sire Galileo (Sadler's Wells-Urban Sea, by Miswaki) added a Group race success when 4YO Irish-bred entire The Taj Mahal (Galileo-You'resothrilling, by Storm Cat) opened his stakes account with a brilliant front-running victory in the $300,000 Gr2 Zipping Classic (2400m) for 3YO+, defeating stable-mate Almandin & Big Duke. The Lloyd Williams-owned The Taj Mahal improved his record to 2 wins and 7 placings (including the Gr1 Secretariat Stakes) from 19 starts for $624,978 in earnings. The victory was a fitting won for trainer Robert Hickmott who is stepping down from his role as private trainer for Williams' Macedon Lodge. "Rob has done a fantastic job for us. He's been with us for 15 or 16 years and he's been head trainer since 2000. In fact the first race he won was here with Zipping," Williams told racing.com. "We've parted on very good terms. Rob is a great man and he wants to have a go on his own so he leaves with our absolute blessing." Previously trained by Aidan O'Brien, the beautifully bred The Taj Mahal is out of a sister to champion racehorse and leading sire Giant's Causeway and is a full-brother to three-time Gr1-winning champion miler Gleneagles, English 1,000 Guineas winner Marvellous and Gr1 Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere.

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The Taj Mahal (image: Mark Gatt)

Hickmott to Leave Macedon Lodge

Friday, 17th November 2017

Racing.com reports that Robert Hickmott is resigning from his role as private trainer for Lloyd Williams' Macedon Lodge to pursue his own training career. Hickmott, who has enjoyed a successful eight-year tenure with Williams, leaves Macedon having trained numerous big race winners, including two Melbourne Cups with Almandin (2016) and Green Moon (2012). Hickmott is expected to step aside after Saturday's Gr2 Zipping Classic and will be replaced by Liam Howley. Williams confirmed the news via text message. "Rob H stays for the Zipping - as that is where it all started," he wrote. "Wish him well as he goes out on his own. Will do well." He added: "Liam Howley been with me about six years. International experience. Very good."

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Green Moon – one of two Melbourne Cup winners trained by Hickmott (pic: Steve Hart)

Almandin to Zipping Classic

Tuesday, 14th November 2017

Owner Lloyd Williams has revealed that Almandin will run in the $300,000 Gr2 Zipping Classic (2400m) at Sandown on Saturday. The 2016 Melbourne Cup winner, who finished a lacklustre 12th in this year's Cup, is likely to be joined by stable-mates The Taj Mahal and Assign. "I am going to run Almandin, I am going to run Taj Mahal and I am going to run perhaps Assign in the Zipping Classic," Williams told Melbourne's Radio Sport National. Almandin is among nine nominations for the Zipping Classic. Nominations have been extended until 10 today.

Rekindling Wins Gr1 Melbourne Cup

Wednesday, 8th November 2017

At Flemington in Melbourne, Coolmore's deceased dual Derby-winning shuttler & 6-time Gr1 victor High Chaparral (Sadler's Wells-Kasora, by Dashaan) celebrated an elite race success when 4YO UK-bred entire Rekindling (High Chaparral-Sitara, by Salse) defied his inexperience when unleashing a strong run down the middle of the famous Flemington straight to win the $6.2 million Gr1 Melbourne Cup (3200m) for 3YO+, narrowly defeating fellow Lloyd Williams-owned galloper Johannes Vermeer & French-bred stayer Max Dynamite. Rekindling, who became the first 3YO (a 3YO by northern hemisphere time) to win the Cup since 1941, improved his record to 4 wins (including the Gr2 Curragh Cup & Gr3 Ballysax Stakes) and 2 placings (including the Gr2 Irish St Leger Trial) from 10 starts for $4,120,149 in earnings. For jockey Corey Brown, it was his second Melbourne Cup win after Shocking in 2009. The 157th running of the Melbourne Cup will be remembered as a special one for both owner Lloyd Williams and young trainer Joseph O'Brien. If Rekindling's win is any guide then O'Brien, the 24YO son of Irish master trainer Aidan, has a very bright career ahead of him indeed as he has achieved what his famous father hitherto has not; that is, win Australia's most famous race. And he has done so at his very first attempt, no less. O’Brien junior also proved that, contrary to popular wisdom, you don’t have to give a foreign horse a lead-up run in Australia prior to the Melbourne Cup. The only other international raider to win the Cup without a lead-up run in Australia was Vintage Crop way back in 1993. As for Williams, he confirmed his status as the most successful owner in Melbourne Cup history with his sixth Cup win. Rekindling joins Just A Dash (1981), What A Nuisance (1985), Efficient (2007), Green Moon (2012), and Almandin (2016) as winners for the Macedon Lodge principal. Williams said the victory was all the sweeter for being able to share it with the young O'Brien. "I'm absolutely thrilled," an emotional Williams told racing.com. "To be able to win this race with Aidan's son is very special, I've known the family a long time….it's a dream, it really is."

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Rekindling (image: Steve Hart)

In House Melbourne Cup Tips

Tuesday, 7th November 2017

Assuming diametrically opposing views on the outcome of the race that stops the nation, below are a selection of first three tips, and why, for this afternoon.

PETER MULLEN (DAILY NEWS CHIEF COLUMNIST)

  1. Marmelo ($7.50): The UK-trained stayer boasts the best credentials in this year's Melbourne Cup. History shows it is nigh on impossible for the international horses to win the Melbourne Cup without a lead-up run in Australia. Marmelo meets that criteria courtesy of an eye-catching performance in the Gr1 Caulfield Cup (2400m) when running home strongly from near last to finish sixth (beaten just 2.7 lengths). Had to change course on at least two occasions but once balanced he really motored to the line. Crying out for the two miles. Prior to his Australian debut, he won one of Europe's best Melbourne Cup guides - the Gr2 Prix Kergolay (3000m) in France. Several recent Melbourne Cup winners have either won or run in the Prix Kergolay en route to Cup glory on the first Tuesday in November, namely Protectionist (2014), Dunaden (2011) and Americain (2010).
  2. Almandin ($9.50): Huge chance to become just the fifth horse in history to win back-to-back Melbourne Cups joining inaugural Cup winner Archer (1861 & 62), Rain Lover (1968 & 69), Think Big (1974 & 75) and Makybe Diva (2003-05). Turned in one of the performances of the spring when cruising to an effortless win under a hands-and heels ride in the Listed Japan Racing Association Trophy (2500m) at Flemington on 16 September. Burdened by a 61kg impost that day but drops to 56.5kg in the Cup. At most recent outing was fourth (beaten 3.35 lengths) in the Gr3 Bart Cummings (2500m) at Flemington but still found the line strongly under 60kg. Is a genuine two-miler and has a potent affinity with Flemington having won 3 of his 5 starts at the famous track. Owner Lloyd Williams has made a habit of winning Australia's most famous race and is shooting for his sixth Melbourne Cup win.
  3. Humidor ($10): Classy galloper who has to be included in the top three after his outstanding performance when second to Winx in the Gr1 Cox Plate (2040m). Indeed, Racing Victoria chief handicapper Greg Carpenter rated his Cox Plate performance superior to the champion mare. There is quite simply no better form line than running the world's best turf horse to less than half a length in track record time. But the question is: does he possess the stamina to run out a strong 3200 metres? His pedigree suggests he can. He's by Teofilo - a son of champion European sire and stamina influence Galileo - who has sired Derby and St Leger winners. But best of all he's out of a Zabeel mare! Other factors in his favour are that he has a Melbourne Cup winning jockey on board in Blake Shinn and is trained by a master in Darren Weir. If he stays he probably wins.
 

GARY KNOWLES (BREEDING&RACING EDITOR)

  1. Big Duke ($20): Prepared by a trainer who could probably get a rocking horse to win, the Duke disappointed in last start 's Moonee Valley Cup, but the odds-on favourite struck bad traffic on the tight circuit at a vital time. An absolute model of consistency over staying journeys, he will not know himself as he is carrying his lightest weight since almost landing the Gr1 Sydney Cup last April. Unlike a lot of the more fancied runners, has a lovely draw. Rock-hard fit, he'll be given every chance if the race is run at a solid tempo.
  2. Johannes Vermeer ($10): In an event well known for its cavalry charge down the straight for the first time, the European raider draws to do no work which should offset any question marks over the extended distance. Sent off at silly odds in his first Australian start in the Caulfield Stakes which he almost won. Backed that up emphatically in the Caulfield Cup with a super run. Trained by one of the most astute judges in the world, JV has a great hoop aboard and should be in calculations 300m from home if given a cuddle until the turn.
  3. Hartnell ($31): Doesn't appear to have come up quite as well this prep as connections would have hoped for. Nonetheless, he is way too classy to be ignored, for a long time considered the only horse potentially capable of beating Winx. Is as exquisite a looker as you'll see on the track, and although he goes up 1.5 kilos following 2016's placing behind Almandin, he gets a 3kg pull at the weights with the winner. Could provide new Godolphin trainer James Cummings with a perfect result in the race dominated by his inibitable late grandfather Bart.

Humidor

If he gets the trip Humidor is a huge danger (pic: Mark Gatt)

Rekindling Has the Class: Williams

Tuesday, 7th November 2017

Owner Lloyd Williams is confident of a bold showing by Rekindling in today's Melbourne Cup if he can recapture his northern hemisphere form. The Joseph O'Brien-trained Rekindling, who is a 3YO by northern hemisphere time but must race as a 4YO in Australia, is a winner of 3 of his 9 starts and brings excellent form over from Ireland. The son of High Chaparral was a winner of the Gr2 Curragh Cup (2800m) three starts ago, before a second behind top-class stayer Order Of St George in the Gr3 Irish St Leger Trial (2800m) and a close-up fourth to Capri in the Gr1 Irish St Leger (2900m). Rekindling has carried 56kg, 58.5kg and 57.5kg at his last three outings respectively, but will drop to the relative luxury weight of just 51.5kg in the Melbourne Cup. "In Europe this year, three-year-olds have been beating all the older horses," Williams said. "What we do know, is that the horse is very well. He's got a blood picture I'd die for but whether April to November is too long, I'm not so sure." Williams added: "Rekindling's right there if he's got over his eight months of training. He looks well and he's right in the race with 51.5 kilograms. He's got some form around Order Of St George who is a seriously high class stayer. He'd win this race in a canter." Williams, already the most successful owner in Melbourne Cup history, is chasing his sixth Cup victory, following the wins of Just A Dash (1981), What A Nuisance (1985), Efficient (2007), Green Moon (2012) and Almandin (2016).

Luck Crucial for Almandin

Tuesday, 7th November 2017

Meanwhile, owner Lloyd Williams says Almandin (Monsun-Anatola, by Tiger Hill) will need plenty of luck if he is to successfully defend his Melbourne Cup title at Flemington today, reports racing.com. Should he be successful, the German-bred Almandin will become just the fifth horse in history to win back-to-back Melbourne Cups, joining inaugural Cup winner Archer (1861 & 62), Rain Lover (1968 & 69), Think Big (1974 & 75) and Makybe Diva (2003-05). However, he will have to carry 56.5kg as opposed to the 52kg he won with last year. "I'm very happy with him but he needs luck in running being up in the weights," Williams said. "If you are extremely well handicapped you can have bad luck and still win but when you are up in the weights, you need luck going for you." Williams added: "I'd be very surprised if Almandin didn't run a great race." Williams, already the most successful owner in Melbourne Cup history, is chasing his sixth Cup victory, following the wins of Just A Dash (1981), What A Nuisance (1985), Efficient (2007), Green Moon (2012) and Almandin (2016).

Dettori Bullish about Almandin

Tuesday, 7th November 2017

Frankie Dettori is confident that Almandin can help him break a 24-year drought in today's Melbourne Cup, reports racenet. The Italian-born Dettori, who replaces the suspended Damien Oliver aboard the Lloyd Williams-owned defending champion, has won most of the world's greatest races, but is yet to win Australia's most famous race since his first attempt 24 years ago. "This is my best chance," Dettori said. "This race has eluded me for many years so to have the chance to ride the favourite is very exciting. Let's hope we can break this hoodoo. It's the race every jockey wants to win." He added: "Almandin is coming off a really good prep run and, having the Melbourne Cup in the back of the mind, I think that run was really good." Dettori nominated UK stayer Marmelo has the horse to beat. "The run of Marmelo in the Caulfield Cup was pretty impressive. He looks to me like he wants two miles," Dettori said. "He would be my number one choice of the Europeans."


Final Melbourne Cup Field & Barriers

Monday, 6th November 2017

The final field has been declared and the barrier draw conducted for Australia's most famous race - the $6.2 million Gr1 Melbourne Cup (3200m) to be run at Flemington racecourse tomorrow. The Irish-trained stayer Thomas Hobson has secured the final spot in the 24-horse field following the withdrawal of Jon Snow on veterinary advice. Interestingly, the 24-horse field is split evenly between locally trained runners and international raiders. First run in 1861 when won by Archer, the Melbourne Cup boasts an honour roll that features some of the greatest names of the Australian turf including Carbine (1885), Phar Lap (1930), Peter Pan (1932/34), Comic Court (1950), Rising Fast (1954), Light Fingers (1965), Galilee (1966), Rain Lover (1968/69), Think Big (1974/75), Let's Elope (1991), Saintly (1996), Might And Power (1997), Ethereal (2001), and Makybe Diva (2003-05). This year, defending champion Almandin is currently the $8.50 TAB fixed odds favourite, ahead of Gr2 Prix Kergolay winner Marmelo at $9 and Cox Plate runner-up Humidor at $9.50. Should he be successful, the German-bred Almandin will become just the fifth horse in history to win back-to-back Melbourne Cups, joining inaugural Cup winner Archer (1861 & 62), Rain Lover (1968 & 69), Think Big (1974 & 75) and Makybe Diva (2003-05). The Aidan O'Brien-trained Johannes Vermeer, who put in an eye-catching Melbourne Cup trial when a fast-finishing third in the Caulfield Cup, heads those runners at double figure odds at $10. Click below to view the Melbourne Cup and all other stakes fields for Tuesday.

Oliver Loses Cup Suspension Appeal

Tuesday, 31st October 2017

Meanwhile, in a major prelude to next Tuesday's Gr1 Melbourne Cup at Flemington, high profile jockey Damien Oliver has lost his appeal against a suspension that has ruled him out of riding favourite, and last year's winner, Almandin in the big race. Overnight, ABC News reported that Oliver will have to serve his 20 racemeeting suspension meted out following last Saturday's historic Gr1 Cox Plate won by Winx. Stewards found Oliver guilty of improper riding after alleging he hampered subsequent fourth-placed Royal Symphony during the Moonee Valley feature in which he rode Happy Clapper. Oliver's failed appeal has resulted in leviathan owner Lloyd Williams turning to Frankie Dettori, a more than capable replacement albeit he is yet to win the two mile event since his first attempt 24 years ago.

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Almandin will be ridden by Frankie Detorri (pic: Steve Hart)

Amelie's Star Escapes Cup Penalty

Tuesday, 10th October 2017

Amelie's Star has avoided a penalty for the Caulfield and Melbourne Cups following her win in last Saturday's Gr3 The Bart Cummings (2500m) at Flemington, reports racing.com. The Darren Weir-trained mare has been allocated 51kg in both races. "Amelie's Star will meet Almandin on the same weight terms in the Melbourne Cup as she did on Saturday [5.5kg less] and is 1.5kg worse off against Harlem," said Racing Victoria's Executive General Manger of Racing, Greg Carpenter. "Her Melbourne Cup weight will be 51kg, the same weight Almandin was given after he won The Bart Cummings in 2016 before going on to win the Melbourne Cup [with 52kg]." Amelie's Star will seek to join Brew and Almandin as just the third horse to claim the Bart Cummings-Melbourne Cup double since 2000.

Winx Crowned Australian HOTY

Monday, 9th October 2017

Winx was last night crowned Australian Horse of the Year for the second straight year at an awards ceremony hosted by Racing Queensland in Brisbane. The honour comes as the Chris Waller-trained mare prepares to create history by joining the legendary Kingston Town as the only horse to win three Cox Plates at Moonee Valley on 28 October, following her stunning win in the Gr1 Turnbull Stakes at Flemington on Saturday. Waller claimed the Bart Cummings Award as the leading Group One winning trainer for 2016/17, while Winx’s regular jockey Hugh Bowman won the Champion Group One Jockey Award. Remarkably, Winx finished 115 votes ahead of her nearest rival, Hartnell, with Chautauqua, Black Heart Bart and Almandin rounding out the nominees. The Australian Champion Racehorse category winners were:

  • Australian Racehorse of the Year – Winx
  • Champion Middle Distance – Winx
  • Champion 2YO – She Will Reign
  • Champion 3YO Filly – Yankee Rose
  • Champion 3YO Colt or Gelding – Flying Artie
  • Champion Sprinter – Chautauqua
  • Champion Stayer – Jameka
  • Champion Jumper – Wells
  • Champion Gr1 Jockey – Hugh Bowman
  • The Bart Cummings Award – Chris Waller
  • Champion Sire - Snitzel

Winx Heads Cox Plate 2nd Acceptances

Wednesday, 27th September 2017

Champion mare Winx heads the 48 horses still in contention at the second acceptance stage for the $3 million Gr1 WS Cox Plate (2040m) at Moonee Valley on 28 October. Among the other notable acceptances were Melbourne Cup winner Almandin, Bonneval, Catchy, Egg Tart, Gingernuts, Hartnell, Humidor, Royal Symphony, Foxplay and Scales Of Justice. Winx is aiming to create history this spring by joining the legendary Kingston Town as the only horse to win three Cox Plates. Click here to view full list of Cox Plate second acceptances.

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Almandin Wins Listed Japan Racing Association Trophy

Monday, 18th September 2017

Reigning Melbourne Cup winner Almandin (Monsun-Anatola, by Tiger Hill) turned in arguably the performance of the spring thus far when cruising to a breathtaking win in the $120,000 Listed Japan Racing Association Trophy (2500m) at Flemington on Saturday. Burdened under a huge 61kg impost, the German-bred stayer demonstrated his potent affinity with the famous Flemington circuit and his significant staying prowess when scoring an effortless 2.75 length win under a hands-and heels ride from Damien Oliver. The champion jockey even had the cheek to steal several peeps over his shoulder in the straight. Almandin is now the $9 favourite with TAB to become just the fifth horse in history to win back-to-back Melbourne Cups, joining inaugural Cup winner Archer (1861 & 62), Rain Lover (1968 & 69), Think Big (1974 & 75) and Makybe Diva (2003-05). When asked if Almandin was likely to progress to the Caulfield Cup en route to the Melbourne Cup, Nick Williams, son of owner Lloyd Williams said: "I think it's on the table, yeah. I was saying the other day it's very simple; the horse will tell us where he goes." Williams added: "Whether that's the Bart Cummings, the Herbert Power, the Caulfield Cup, the Cox Plate, the Moonee Valley Cup…dad will make that decision in due course." Almandin advanced his record to 6 wins (including the Melbourne Cup, Gr2 Grosser Preis der Badischen Unternehmer & Gr3 Bart Cummings Handicap) and 5 placings from 14 starts for $4,246,291 in earnings.

Hartnell Heads Caulfield Cup Weights

Wednesday, 13th September 2017

Hartnell has been allocated top weight for the $3.15 million Gr1 Caulfield Cup (2400m) to be run at Caulfield racecourse on 21 October. The Godolphin star looked to have returned from a break in career best form when scoring a brilliant first-up win in the Gr2 PB Lawrence Stakes (1400m) on 19 August. Entered to run in Saturday's Gr1 Makybe Diva Stakes at Flemington, Hartnell is currently the $6.50 TAB favourite for the Caulfield Cup ahead of top-class New Zealand mare Bonneval at $8. The Murray Baker & Andrew Forsman prepared mare, who marked herself as a high class stayer in the making when claiming the Australian and New Zealand Oaks double last season, has been allocated 52.5kg. Other notable entries and their respective weights are Almandin with 56.5kg, New Zealand Derby winner Gingernuts with 55kg, Australian Derby winner Jon Snow with 54.5kg, Curragh Cup winner Rekindling with 52kg, and dual Oaks winner Egg Tart with 51.5kg. Click here to view the full list of Caulfield Cup weights.

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Hartnell (image: Mark Gatt)

Victorian Racehorse of the Year Awards This Sunday

Tuesday, 29th August 2017

Winx is one of five horses shortlisted for the Victorian Racehorse of the Year award that will be announced at Peninsula Docklands in Melbourne on Sunday night, reports racing.com. The Victorian Racehorse of the Year finalists are:

  • Almandin (1 x Group One win)
  • Black Heart Bart (4 x Group One wins)
  • Hartnell (1 x Group One win)
  • Jameka (1 x Group One win)
  • Winx (2 x Group One wins)

Cup Winner Pleases in Return

Monday, 28th August 2017

Reigning Melbourne Cup winner Almandin (Monsun-Anatola, by Tiger Hill) looks set for another prosperous spring campaign after his encouraging first-up performance at Moonee Valley on Saturday. Having his first run since winning Australia's most famous race in November, the German-bred stayer showed his class under top weight of 61kg to finish 0.75 length second to the Darren Weir-trained Pacodali in the MSC Signs Handicap over 2040 metres. Co-owner Nick Williams said Almandin's effort showed he was on track to defend his title at Flemington on the first Tuesday in November. "He had 61kg but he was thrown into the race due to the weight scale being a quality handicap so you'd like to see him run well. He finished off quite well, I couldn't be happier with him," Williams told racing.com. The $6 million Gr1 Melbourne Cup (3200m) will be run at Flemington on Tuesday, 7 November.

Vitam

2017 Melbourne Cup Tour Launch Today

Tuesday, 30th May 2017

The Victoria Racing Club (VRC) will announce the 31 destinations selected to host the 2017 Emirates Melbourne Cup Tour at a special event at Lloyd Williams' training facilities at Mount Macedon today. Among those who will attend the launch is Victorian Racing Minister Martin Pakula, as well as five-time Melbourne Cup winning owner Lloyd Williams. Williams' 2016 Melbourne Cup winner Almandin and 2007 Melbourne Cup winner Efficient will also be at the special event which kicks off at 10:30am.

Almandin Heads Sydney Cup Weights

Tuesday, 21st February 2017

A total of 100 nominations have been weighted for the 152nd running of the $2 million Gr1 Sydney Cup (3200m) to be run at Royal Randwick on 8th April. Included in the nominations are ten horses from last year's Melbourne Cup, including German-bred winner Almandin which will carry top weight of 58kg on a 50kg limit (49kg for 3YOs). Next in the order of weights is Our Ivanhowe who has been allotted 57kg after having his last two starts in the Gr1 Caulfield Cup (2400m) and the Gr1 Melbourne Cup (3200m). Last year's Sydney Cup winner Gallante has been given 54kg, which represents a 2.5kg increase on last year's 51.5kg. He has since run 2nd in the Gr3 Naturalism Stakes (2000m) as well as being unplaced in the Gr2 Moonee Valley Cup (2500m) and Melbourne Cup (3200m). The highest weighted mare with 52kg is Real Love, while exciting young stayer Northwest Passage is the highest rated 3YO nominated and will carry the minimum for a 3YO of 49kg. Also included this year are four nominations from Japan with Tanta Alegria the highest rated on 111 and will carry 57kg. Click here to view all weights.

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Almandin (image: Mark Gatt)

Melbourne Cup Hero Among Aust Cup Noms

Tuesday, 24th January 2017

Melbourne Cup winner Almandin and Caulfield Cup heroine Jameka are among the 61 entries for the $1.5 million Gr1 Australian Cup (2000m) to be run at Flemington on 11 March. Click here to view the full nominations for the Australian Cup.

2016

Australian Sires Premiership Update

Friday, 16th December 2016

After nearly twenty weeks of the 2016-17 racing season, Darley's deceased shuttler & Gr1 Dubai World Cup winner Street Cry maintains a healthy advantage atop the national sires leader board with progeny earnings in excess of $5.8 million. Arrowfield Stud's multiple stakes-winning stallion Not A Single Doubt has moved into second position with $4.6 million in earnings, while outstanding but ill-fated German stallion Monsun, courtesy of Almandin's victory in the Melbourne Cup, rounds out the top three with $4.48 million in earnings. The Top Ten stallion rankings (according to arion.co.nz as at 15 December) are:

1. Street Cry (Machiavellian) - $5,878,179

2. Not a Single Doubt (Redoute's Choice) - $4,612,926

3. Monsun (Königsstuhl) - $4,484,800

4. Fastnet Rock (Danehill) - $4,448,724

5. Snitzel (Redoute's Choice) - $4,095,621

6. I Am Invincible (Invincible Spirit) - $3,823,131

7. High Chaparral (Sadler's Wells) - $3,542,164

8. Sebring (More Than Ready) - $3,530,149

9. More Than Ready (Southern Halo) - $3,371,661

10. Stratum (Redoute's Choice) - $3,128,314

Australian Sires Premiership Update

Friday, 2nd December 2016

After nearly eighteen weeks of the 2016-17 racing season, Darley's deceased shuttler & Gr1 Dubai World Cup winner Street Cry maintains a healthy lead at the top of the national sires leader board with progeny earnings in excess of $5.6 million. Courtesy of Almandin's victory in the Melbourne Cup, outstanding but ill-fated German stallion Monsun occupies second position with $4.48 million in earnings, while Arrowfield Stud's multiple stakes-winning stallion Not A Single Doubt rounds out the top three with $4.2 million. The Top Ten stallion rankings (according to arion.co.nz as at 1 December) are:

  1. Street Cry (Machiavellian) - $5,642,976
  2. Monsun (Königsstuhl) - $4,484,800
  3. Not a Single Doubt (Redoute's Choice) - $4,201,696
  4. Fastnet Rock (Danehill) - $4,163,531
  5. Snitzel (Redoute's Choice) - $3,720,931
  6. I Am Invincible (Invincible Spirit) - $3,346,731
  7. High Chaparral (Sadler's Wells) - $3,254,676
  8. Sebring (More Than Ready) - $3,164,226
  9. More Than Ready (Southern Halo) - $3,004,881
  10. Exceed and Excel (Danehill) - $2,639,254

Australian Sires Premiership Update

Friday, 18th November 2016

After nearly sixteen weeks of the 2016-17 racing season, Darley's deceased shuttler & Gr1 Dubai World Cup winner Street Cry remains on top of the national sires leader board with over $5.4 million in progeny earnings. Courtesy of Almandin's victory in the Melbourne Cup, outstanding but ill-fated German stallion Monsun occupies second position with $4.48 million in earnings, while Coolmore's former Gr1-winning Champion Australian Sire Fastnet Rock rounds out the top three with $3.87 million. The Top Ten stallion rankings (according to arion.co.nz as at 17 November) are:

  1. Street Cry (Machiavellian) - $5,448,458
  2. Monsun (Königsstuhl) - $4,484,800
  3. Fastnet Rock (Danehill) - $3,873,711
  4. Snitzel (Redoute's Choice) - $3,397,821
  5. Not a Single Doubt (Redoute's Choice) - $3,126,366
  6. I Am Invincible (Invincible Spirit) - $3,049,536
  7. High Chaparral (Sadler's Wells) - $2,945,983
  8. Sebring (More Than Ready) - $2,725,475
  9. More Than Ready (Southern Halo) - $2,724,086
  10. Myboycharlie (Danetime) - $2,529,420

Jameka On Road To Recovery

Monday, 14th November 2016

Trainer Ciaron Maher says Caulfield Cup winner Jameka (Myboycharlie) is on the mend after injuring her sacroiliac joint, reports ANZ Bloodstock News. Maher is of the opinion that the injury is the reason for Jameka's poor Melbourne performance, in which she finished 15th (beaten 14.2 lengths) behind Almandin. "She has a sacral tear which is not too serious and is having a break before we start getting her ready for the autumn," Maher said. “I'm not convinced she doesn't get 3200 metres. We don't know when it happened but she could have injured herself coming out of the barriers. We know she runs a strong mile and a half but she didn't really even go that far in the Melbourne Cup so it's not a true guide."

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Jameka (image: Mark Gatt)

Australian Sires Premiership Update

Friday, 11th November 2016

After nearly fifteen weeks of the 2016-17 racing season, Darley's deceased shuttler & Gr1 Dubai World Cup winner Street Cry remains on top of the national sires leader board with over $5.2 million in progeny earnings. Courtesy of Almandin's victory in the Melbourne Cup, outstanding but ill-fated German stallion Monsun occupies second position with $4.48 million in earnings, while Coolmore's former Gr1-winning Champion Australian Sire Fastnet Rock has reclaimed a top three spot with $3.77 million. The Top Ten stallion rankings (according to arion.co.nz as at 10 November) are:

  1. Street Cry (Machiavellian) - $5,272,260
  2. Monsun (Königsstuhl) - $4,484,800
  3. Fastnet Rock (Danehill) - $3,776,861
  4. Snitzel (Redoute's Choice) - $3,160,696
  5. I Am Invincible (Invincible Spirit) - $2,944,961
  6. Not a Single Doubt (Redoute's Choice) - $2,877,286
  7. High Chaparral (Sadler's Wells) - $2,822,455
  8. More Than Ready (Southern Halo) - $2,647,586
  9. Sebring (More Than Ready) - $2,523,912
  10. Myboycharlie (Danetime) - $2,498,060

Almandin Out Of Zipping Classic

Wednesday, 9th November 2016

Melbourne Cup winner Almandin has been declared a non-runner for Saturday's $300,000 Gr2 Zipping Classic (2400m) at Sandown, reports AAP. Owner Lloyd Williams has also withdrawn fellow Melbourne Cup runners Bondi Beach and Assign. A decision on whether Gallante will run will be made later in the week.

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Almandin winning the Melbourne Cup (image: Mark Gatt)

Almoonqith Confirmed For Zipping Classic

Tuesday, 8th November 2016

David Hayes is hoping that Almoonqith (Dynaformer-Bohemian Lady, by Carson City) can finally break his spring drought in Saturday's Gr2 Zipping Classic (2400m) at Sandown. The Shadwell-owned US-bred import signalled a win is not far away with a sixth place finish behind Almandin in last week's Gr1 Melbourne Cup (3200m). "His run was excellent in the Melbourne Cup," Hayes told Melbourne's Radio Sport National. "I know it's a hard race, but he's really fit now and ready to put in a really good run. He's sound, and we're really happy with him." He added: "I think he'll definitely put in a really good race." Almoonqith's last win was in the Listed Sandown Cup 12 months ago.

Kiwi Stayer To Defend Zipping Crown

Tuesday, 8th November 2016

Who Shot Thebarman (Yamanin Vital-Ears Carol, by Carolingian) will defend his Gr2 Zipping Classic title at Sandown on Saturday, reports NZ Racing Desk. The New Zealand-bred and owned stayer won the race 12 months ago after running 11th behind Prince Of Penzance in the Melbourne Cup. Who Shot Thebarman finished a meritorious fifth behind Almandin in this year's edition of the Cup and came through the race in top order. "From his barrier in the Cup and from where he was on the turn, he was super," trainer Chris Waller said.

Australian Sires Premiership Update

Friday, 4th November 2016

After nearly fourteen weeks of the 2016-17 racing season, Darley's deceased shuttler & Gr1 Dubai World Cup winner Street Cry remains on top of the national sires leader board with nearly $5 million in progeny earnings. Courtesy of Almandin's victory in the Melbourne Cup, outstanding but ill-fated German stallion Monsun occupies second position, while Arrowfield's Gr1-winning stallion Snitzel rounds out the top three. The Top Ten stallion rankings (according to arion.co.nz as at 3 November) are:

  1. Street Cry (Machiavellian) - $4,979,900
  2. Monsun (Königsstuhl) - $4,340,800
  3. Snitzel (Redoute's Choice) - $2,913,081
  4. I Am Invincible (Invincible Spirit) - $2,839,251
  5. High Chaparral (Sadler's Wells) - $2,673,675
  6. Not a Single Doubt (Redoute's Choice) - $2,663,226
  7. Myboycharlie (Danetime) - $2,473,835
  8. More Than Ready (Southern Halo) - $2,406,486
  9. Fastnet Rock (Danehill) - $2,351,761
  10. Sebring (More Than Ready) - $2,219,902

Melbourne Cup Field & Barriers

Monday, 31st October 2016

The final field has been declared and the barrier draw conducted for Australia's most famous race, the $6 million Gr1 Melbourne Cup (3200m), to be run at Flemington tomorrow. The Godolphin team have the top two in the betting with Cox Plate runner-up Hartnell currently favourite at $5 ahead of Oceanographer at $6.50. Both horses have drawn midfield in barriers 12 and 11 respectively. Brilliant Caulfield Cup winner Jameka represents good value at $8 and has drawn favourably in barrier 3, while the only other horse under double-figure odds is the Aidan O'Brien-trained Bondi Beach at $9. The capacity 24-horse field is:

1. BIG ORANGE (Michael Bell-Jamie Spencer) 57kg (7)

2. OUR IVANHOWE (Lee & Anthony Freedman-Dwayne Dunn) 57kg (6)

3. CURREN MIROTIC (Osamu Hirata-Tommy Berry) 56.5kg (18)

4. BONDI BEACH (Aidan O'Brien-Ryan Moore) 56kg (5)

5. EXOSPHERIC (Lee & Anthony Freedman-D Oliver) 56kg (13)

6. HARTNELL (John O'Shea-James McDonald) 56kg (12)

7. WHO SHOT THEBARMAN (Chris Waller-Hugh Bowman) 56kg (20)

8. WICKLOW BRAVE (William Mullins-Frankie Dettori) 56kg (24)

9. ALMOONQITH (David & B Hayes & T Dabernig-M Walker) 54.5kg (19)

10. GALLANTE (Robert Hickmott-Blake Shinn) 54.5kg (2)

11. GRAND MARSHAL (Chris Waller-Ben Melham) 54.5kg (9)

12. JAMEKA (Ciaron Maher-Nicholas Hall) 54.5kg (3)

13. HEARTBREAK CITY (Tony Martin-Joao Moreira) 54kg (23)

14. SIR JOHN HAWKWOOD (John P Thompson-Blake Spriggs) 54kg (14)

15. EXCESS KNOWLEDGE (G Waterhouse & Adrian Bott-Vlad Duric) 53.5kg (21)

16. BEAUTIFUL ROMANCE (Saeed Bin Suroor-Damian Lane) 52.5kg (1)

17. ALMANDIN (Robert Hickmott-Kerrin McEvoy) 52kg (17) 

18. ASSIGN (Robert Hickmott-Katelyn Mallyon) 52kg (22)

19. GREY LION (Matt Cumani-Glen Boss) 52kg (16)

20. OCEANOGRAPHER (Charlie Appleby-Chad Schofield) 52kg (11)

21. SECRET NUMBER (Saeed Bin Suroor-Stephen Baster) 52kg (10)

22. PENTATHLON (John Wheeler-Mark Du Plessis) 51.5kg (4)

23. QEWY (Charlie Appleby-Craig Williams) 51.5kg (15)

24. ROSE OF VIRGINIA (Lee & Shannon Hope-Ben Thompson) 51kg (8)

Click here for all the form for Melbourne Cup day at Flemington.

Latest Melbourne Cup Order Of Entry

Wednesday, 12th October 2016

The Nick & Lloyd Williams-owned Almandin is the only horse assured of a start in this year's Gr1 Melbourne Cup (3200m) after gaining ballot exemption when winning the Gr3 VRC Bart Cummings Handicap (2500m) at Flemington on 2 October. By Monsun, the same sire as 2013 Melbourne Cup winner Fiorente, Almandin occupies the highest position in the latest Melbourne Cup order of entry ahead of multiple Gr1 winner Preferment, UK stayer Big Orange, Our Ivanhowe, and Japanese galloper Curren Mirotic. Click here to view the latest Melbourne Cup order of entry.

Almandin Wins Gr3 The Bart Cummings

Tuesday, 4th October 2016

At Flemington in Melbourne, favoured imported 7YO German-bred gelding Almandin (Monsun-Anatola, by Tiger Hill) registered his second successive stakes victory since arriving in Australia when scoring by 1.5-lengths for trainer Robert Hickmott in the $300,000 Gr3 Bart Cummings Handicap (2500m), over 7YO mare Manteca (Zabel-Princess Quillo, by Zoffany) & imported 7YO entire Excess Knowledge (Monsun-Quenched, by Dansili). The lightly raced Macedon Lodge gelding appeared to have clicked into another gear when winning the recent Listed Harry White Classic (2400m) at Caulfield late last month, and looked even more comfortable when backing up a week later on Sunday. Now automatically qualified to run in the Gr1 Melbourne Cup (3200m), Almandin is unlikely to run again before the $6.2 million feature where his form and light weight have seen his odds cut to $15.00. The Lloyd & Nick Williams-owned Almandin improved his record to 4 wins (also including the Gr2 Grosser Preis der Badischen Unternehmer) and 4 placings from 11 starts for $347,191 earnings.

Gr1 Metropolitan Re-Handicaps

Tuesday, 27th September 2016

The Racing NSW Handicapping Panel has announced the following re-handicaps for the $750,000 Gr1 Metropolitan Handicap (2400m) to be run at Royal Randwick on Saturday, 1st October:

  • Almandin - The Lloyd & Nick Williams-owned import has been penalised 0.5kg after winning the Listed Harry White Classic (2400m) at Caulfield on Saturday. His weight has been increased to 50.5kg.
  • Antonio Giuseppe - The Chris Waller-trained NZ-bred galloper remains on 50kg after receiving no penalty for his win in the benchmark 78 race over 2000m at Rosehill on Saturday.
  • Allergic - The Godolphin galloper is exempt from penalty after winning the Gr3 Colin Stephen Quality (2400m) at Rosehill on Saturday. He is weighted at 50.5kg.

Almandin Wins Listed Harry White Classic

Monday, 26th September 2016

At Caulfield in Melbourne, 7YO German-bred gelding Almandin (Monsun-Anatola, by Tiger Hill) registered his first stakes victory since arriving in Australia when scoring by 2 lengths for trainer Robert Hickmott in the $120,000 Listed Harry White Classic (2400m) for 3YO+, over 6YO Irish-bred gelding Assign (Montjeu-Belesta, by Xaar) & 7YO gelding Black Tomahawk (Seul Amour-Willisa, by Vite Cheval). The Lloyd & Nick Williams-owned Almandin improved his record to 3 wins (including the Gr2 Grosser Preis der Badischen Unternehmer) and 4 placings from 10 starts for $164,691 earnings. Almandin has been allocated 50kg for this year's Melbourne Cup.

2014

Caulfield Cup Highlight Entries

Wednesday, 6th August 2014

The highlights among the nominations received for the Caulfield Cup include:

  • Three Japanese-trained stayers Admire Rakti, Admire Flight and Bande have been nominated paving the way for the first Japanese runner since 2010 (Tokai Trick, 12th);
  • Ballydoyle master Aidan O'Brien has nominated two horses, namely multiple Gr1-placed filly Venus de Milo and Irish Derby runner-up Kingfisher;
  • Sir Michael Stoute has entered Gr2 winner and recent Gr2 Princess of Wales's Stakes runner-up Hillstar;
  • UK trainer Marco Botti has 2013 runner-up Dandino and new stable acquisition, 2013 Melbourne Cup placegetter Mount Athos, among five stable entries;
  • Recent Gr1 Coral-Eclipse winner Mukhadram has been entered as has the three placegetters from last month's Gr2 Princess of Wales's Stakes - Cavalryman, Hillstar and Pether's Moon – a race won in 2012 by Fiorente;
  • Defending champion Fawkner is one of 12 nominations for Victorian trainer Robert Hickmott alongside 2012 Melbourne Cup winner Green Moon, Sea Moon and recent German acquisition Almandin.