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Almandin earns Melbourne Cup berth

German import Almandin has stormed into calculations for the Melbourne Cup after securing a start in the $6.2 million race with a dominant win in the Group Three Bart Cummings at Flemington.

Raced by four-time Cup-winning owner Lloyd Williams and his son Nick, Almandin won Sunday’s 2500m race by 1-1/2 lengths, securing a ballot exemption for this year’s Cup for which he has 50kg.

Racing Victoria’s chief handicapper Greg Carpenter will announce on Monday whether he has given Almandin a weight penalty in the Cup for the win.

Almandin’s win prompted the TAB to tighten him from $35 to $13 for the Melbourne Cup and Nick Williams said he was likely to head to the race without another start.

Almandin defeated Protectionist in a Group Two race in Germany in June, 2014 before being bought by the Williams family.

Later that year the Andreas Wohler-trained Protectionist won the Melbourne Cup.

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Nick Williams said Almandin had had a lot of problems since arriving in Australia which meant he only made his local debut for trainer Robert Hickmott in June this year.

He raced again in August and September before winning the Harry White Classic last Saturday.

“Once we’ve got him up to his trip in these better races he seems to be improving each time he goes to the races and hopefully in a little over four weeks he might improve a bit again,” Nick Williams said.

Almandin has impressed Damien Oliver in his two wins in the past eight days and the champion jockey said Sunday’s victory was “pretty cosy”.

“He had them covered a fair way out,” Oliver said.

“He was up in grade a bit today and was backing up in a week but I still thought he won quite comprehensively and I think he goes into the Cup a good lightweight chance.”

Zanteca ran home for second with another half length to third placed Excess Knowledge.

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