Almandin In Line For Zipping Classic

By Daithi Harvey

Multiple G1 Melbourne Cup winning owner Lloyd Williams is keen to see last week’s disappointing ‘Cup’ joint favourite Almandin (Ger) (Monsun {Ger}) show a bit more spark when the gelding takes in Saturday’s G2 Zipping Classic at Sandown. Almandin could finish only 12th at Flemington behind the other Williams owned pair of Rekindling (GB) (High Chaparral {Ire}) and Johannes Vermeer (Ire) (Galileo {{Ire}) and adopting a similar strategy to the Melbourne Cup, Williams intends to field a number of challengers for a race named after a horse that carried the Williams’ silks to a pair of Group 1 wins at Flemington in 2010. “I am going to run Almandin, I am going to run The Taj Mahal and I am going to run perhaps Assign in the Zipping Classic,” Williams told RSN 927 on Monday.

While Almandin’s best days on the track may be behind him The Taj Mahal (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}) is certainly one for the future and the 3-year-old will be having his first start for Robert Hickmott having had two runs in Australia for his former trainer Aidan O’Brien. Most recently the full-brother to group 1 winners Gleneagles (Ire), Marvellous (Ire) and Happily (Ire) lined up in the G1 Emirates S. at Flemington Nov. 11 and finished a good fourth behind Tosen Stardom (Jpn) (Deep Impact {Jpn}). Williams says the colt has improved for his time in Australia but has reservations about turning him out again quickly and added, “I am just a bit worried about him backing up after having a run on a hard track.”

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