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Almandin - Melbourne Cup Almandin is on track to defend his Melbourne Cup crown

Part-owner Nick Williams says Almandin is ticking over perfectly in his preparation for a tilt at a second Melbourne Cup.

Almandin makes his second appearance this spring in Saturday’s Listed JRA Trophy (2500m) at Flemington where he is scheduled to be joined by five of his Robert Hickmott-trained stablemates.

This week chief handicapper Greg Carpenter announced the winner of the Caulfield Cup would not be penalised for the Melbourne Cup if it already had 56kg or more.

Williams said he had been asked since Tuesday’s announcement whether Almandin’s preparation would include the Caulfield Cup, given he has 56.5kg in both Cups.

“The answer is pretty simple to that,” Williams told RSN927.

“This horse’s aim is to try and win back-to-back Melbourne Cups.”

He said they would not do anything to diminish the eight-year-old gelding’s chances of being at his best on Melbourne Cup day.

“And if the Caulfield Cup fits into that program that we think helps give him the best chance of winning the Melbourne Cup 2017, he’ll be running,” he said.

“If it doesn’t, he won’t.

“It’s as simple as that. We won’t be making a decision at this point in time.”

Almandin carried 52kg in last year’s Melbourne Cup after winning his way to the race via The Bart Cummings (2500m) at Flemington.

He then didn’t race for a month before the Cup.

“Effectively, I suppose he’s got three options,” Williams said.

“He could run in the Caulfield Cup. He could run in the Herbert Power. He could run in The Bart Cummings as a lead-up.

“It worked pretty well for him (last year) running in The Bart Cummings.

“But we’ll let the horse tell us.”

Almandin is equal Melbourne Cup favourite at $13 alongside last year’s third placegetter Hartnell.

Almandin finished second in his season return in a 2040m handicap at Moonee Valley last month.

He has topweight of 61kg and is $5 second favourite behind stablemate Crocodile Rock ($4.20) for Saturday’s race.

 
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