Almandin | Horse Of The Month November 2016
Almandin - Horse Of The Month November 2016
The seven-year-old German bay gelding is an automatic consideration, given the 2016 Melbourne Cup win.
This lightly raced horse came through when it mattered most, winning the most prestigious race on the Australian thoroughbred racing calendar, in the process beating local favourites Hartnell and Jameka.
Almandin had been doing some degree of racing prior to winning the Melbourne Cup. He first made an appearance on Australian courses in June at Moonee Valley, where he was steered to a sixth place finish by Katelyn Mallyon in a 1600 m race on a soft track. He gave an 8 kg advantage to the winner of that race, Onpicalo.
When he ran at Flemington for the first time in August, it was over 2000 m, but this time the stewards saw fit to give him and Ms. Mallyon 60 kg, with the outcome being another sixth place finish in a handicap race.
It was back to Moonee Valley then, with another similar result, fifth in a field of 12, this time with Steven Arnold aboard. Almandin earned only $2,700 for that early September outing, but he would notch his first Australian victory near the end of September in a 2400 m outing at Caulfield racecourse, where he showed what he was capable of with a high calibre jockey Damien Oliver in charge. Almandin added $72,000 to the coffers that day by winning the Listed race.
Back at Flemington in early October, Almandin and Oliver paired again to take the 2500 m Group 3 Bart Cummings Quality Handicap, beating Zanteca from New Zealand and a British import named Excess Knowledge. Almandin came from seventh in the final 800 m and fourth at 400 m, perhaps demonstrating that his earlier results on shorter tracks did not fit well with his staying abilities.
He was one of 24 that made it into the field for the Melbourne Cup, where he was far behind the favourites in terms of pricing, just as he was going into the final 800 m of the race, where only 10 horses trailed him. His rider had been switched to Kerrin McEvoy, who had ridden Almandin only in track work prior to taking on the big race.
In the final 200 m of the race, it turned into a two-horse duel between Almandin and the French horse Heartbreak City. The two battled nose to nose, well ahead of the rest of the field. At the end, it required a photo to determine the true winner, which turned out to be Almandin.
For a lightly raced horse such as Almandin to come in and win the biggest race of his career with only two other attempts on Flemington turf to his credit would have to be considered almost as unlikely as the win by Prince of Penzance in 2015.
The $3.8 million payday represents over 90 percent of Almandin’s earning for a total of 12 races dating back to October of 2012.
Our heartfelt congratulations to Almandin, our November Racehorse of the month.