FORMER Mike de Kock-trained runner Almoonqith, owned by Sheikh Hamdan of Dubai, scored an impressive win in Wednesday’s GR3 Geelong Cup over 2400m at Geelong Racecourse outside of Melbourne.
Now in the care of training partners David Hayes and Tom Dabernig and ridden by James McDonald, Almoonqith ($10) scored by 1-3/4 lengths from $4 favourite Dandino with Manndawi ($15) another 3-1/4 lengths away third.
Almoonqith, Melbourne Cup hopeful.
The Lindsay Park galloper had his Melbourne Cup price slashed from $101 to $19 after the win but the six-year-old needs a penalty to move up the ballot order and gain a start in the $6 million race.
Currently 37th in the order of entry with 52kg, a 1kg penalty will take Almoonqith to 29th position while 1.5kg will take him to 26th spot.
Racing Victoria handicapper Greg Carpenter will announce a penalty on Thursday.
“It was an impressive win,” Carpenter said.
“He got there early and had it won a fair way down the straight.
“He’s a Group winner over a distance in Dubai, so we’ll work through it.”
Recent Geelong Cup winners to go on to success in the Melbourne Cup include Media Puzzle in 2002, Americain in 2010 and Dunaden in 2011.
Hayes said Almoonqith reminds him of his Caulfield Cup winner Tawqeet.
“He looked like a Melbourne Cup horse the way he cruised up,” Hayes said.
“I thought he might have gone a little bit early but he won really convincingly.”
McDonald said he was impressed with the turn of foot Almoonqith showed and felt the stayer would have no trouble handling the 3200m of the Melbourne Cup.
Dandino passed the first ballot clause for the Melbourne Cup with his second placing and moved to 37th in the order of entry.
He could press on to the Lexus Stakes at Flemington on Derby Day to try to secure a start.
-from stuff.co.za, edited to suit.
Impressive win! Great ride by James McDonald!