The prospect of Almandin becoming a dual Melbourne Cup winner has the star stayer the sentimental favourite of the six runners for part-owner Nick Williams in Australia’s most famous race.
Williams and his father Lloyd have an interest in a quarter of the field in Tuesday’s Melbourne Cup including international visitors Johannes Vermeer, Rekindling and US Army Ranger, along with locally trained imported stayers Bondi Beach and Gallante.
But Almandin is the one closest to Nick Williams’ heart.
“If I could pick who I would love to win, it would be Almandin,” Williams said.
“But that’s because we love this race, we have a great sense of history, we’re proud Melburnians, and to have the honour of having a back-to-back winner would mean a great deal to us.
“So that’s my heart speaking as opposed to probably speaking objectively.
“But I couldn’t put a negative on Almandin.”
Almandin won last year’s Cup carrying 52kg and rises to 56.5kg.
He is the $8 favourite to become just the sixth multiple winner in the Cup’s history.
Williams is adamant Almandin has improved compared to 2016 when he was in his first year of racing in Australia after a lengthy lay-off.
“I’d be really surprised if he doesn’t run a blinder,” Williams said.
“….If you look in the racebook it says he’s eight years old but he’s really seven years old (to northern hemisphere time).
“He missed two years.
“When we got him he was very unfurnished. He won a Group Two in Germany (2014) but he was mentally nowhere near there.
“Last year he certainly wasn’t the finished article . This year he is.
“We’ve got no doubt he’s improved. Has he improved four-and-a-half kilos? I guess we’ll know that on Tuesday.
“But I’m pretty confident he has.”
Williams said he was not only excited about Almandin but also the chances of Johannes Vermeer and Rekindling who are at $10 and $14 respectively.
Frankie Dettori rides Almandin as he bids to win his first Melbourne Cup.