Kerrin McEvoy is rapt to be back riding Almandin for the first time since the pair teamed up to win the 2016 Melbourne Cup.
One of Australia’s leading jockeys has been tasked to guide the eight-year-old gelding through his first start in Sydney in Saturday’s Group One Tancred Stakes (2400m), and it is an assignment McEvoy is relishing at Rosehill.
The German-bred stayer provided one of the highlight’s of McEvoy’s career – and second Melbourne Cup – when Damian Oliver could not make weight for the iconic race.
Owner Lloyd Williams has called on McEvoy’s experience to add a new dimension to Almandin’s career.
“It’s nice to be back on him. He’s shown he’s competitive at weight-for-age when there’s no Winx around,” McEvoy said.
Almandin is two races into his first preparation for Victorian trainer Liam Howley and arrives in Sydney after a fourth in the Group One Australian Cup (2000m) at Flemington on March 10.
“He was desperately in need of some room there in the Australian Cup, but he obviously been in good form of late,” McEvoy said.
He still has vivid memories of that memorable afternoon at Flemington, but McEvoy preferred to focus on Almandin’s attributes before they get reunite on race day.
“He’s pretty push-button and he usually travels well,” McEvoy said.
“He hasn’t run in Sydney but he would have ran right handed overseas so that wouldn’t be an issue.”
“I think this will be a nice little change of scenery for him.”
Almandin was the $3.70 second elect with the TAB on Wednesday while Gailo Chop, the $2.15 favourite, must defy history to produce back-to-back Group One wins for Victorian trainer Darren Weir.
The seven-year-old gelding gave Weir his first Sydney Group One in last Saturday’s Ranvet Stakes and history is against a repeat seven days later.
In the past three years no Ranvet Stakes placegetter has finished among the top three in the Tancred Stakes.
Jockey Hugh Bowman is seeking a fourth Tancred Stakes – and third in a row – on Who Shot Thebarman, providing he is cleared to ride.
Bowman, who was concussed after falling from Performer at Randwick on March 10, was stood down by the course doctor at Warwick Farm on Wednesday following race two after feeling lethargic.
He is scheduled to have tests on Thursday.