David Hayes’ hopes of a second Melbourne Cup win have been boosted by the performance of Almoonqith in the Caulfield Cup.
Hayes, who trained Jeune to win the 1994 Melbourne Cup, said Almoonqith’s fourth in Saturday’s Caulfield Cup (2400m) showed he was peaking at the right time for the Melbourne Cup on November 1.
“I thought he should have run second,” Hayes said.
“He was probably the unlucky runner in the race. He got dragged back probably three pairs. It was a really good Cup trial.
“We’ve been in a fortunate position this year with this horse in that he’s qualified (for the Melbourne Cup 2016).
“So I haven’t had to have him ready for lead-up races and this was the first time he’s been anywhere near ready, and he’ll be ready in two weeks.”
Almoonqith won the 2015 Geelong Cup before finishing 16th in the Melbourne Cup.
Hayes considers last year’s Melbourne Cup as one to forget after Almoonqith got a long way back in the field.
Jameka’s dominant three-length Caulfield Cup win elevated her to equal $5 Melbourne Cup favourite with Hartnell who runs in Saturday’s Cox Plate at Moonee Valley.
Almoonqith, who finished 4-1/4 lengths behind Jameka at Caulfield, is at $17 for the Melbourne Cup.
Racing Victoria’s chief handicapper Greg Carpenter will announce on Monday whether he has given Jameka a weight penalty for the Melbourne Cup for her convincing victory.
Jameka will be striving to become the 12th horse to complete the Caulfield-Melbourne Cup double and first since fellow mare Ethereal 15 years ago.