Team Williams will look to continue their recent domination of our staying features this Saturday, as they saddle up the favourite for this year’s Sydney Cup, Almandin.
The 2016 Melbourne Cup winner brings easily the best credentials to the two-mile test, but with a heavy impost of 57kg and the weight of history against him, he could be at his most vulnerable on Saturday.
History Hangs Over Favourite
In the last 20 years, only two other horses have lumped 57kg or more and been victorious in the Sydney Cup.
Mourayan, another Team Williams galloper, successfully carried 58kgs in his 2013 triumph, while we then have to go back to 1999 when Tie The Knot shouldered the same 57kgs in his second Sydney Cup victory.
It certainly paints a grim picture for those at the head of the weights, and Almandin will have to buck the trend if he is to be successful in this year’s renewal.
Scales In Opposition Favour
The drop back from weight-for-age also presents a key challenge for Almandin.
He was completely dominant over a number of key rivals in the G1 Tancred Stakes (2400m), but now lining up in a handicap means he meets all of those gallopers worse off at the weights.
A horse like Ventura Storm, who carried the same weight as Almandin in the Tancred, now gets a 3.5kg weight swing on that galloper!
It’s worth noting also, that Almandin carried 52kgs in his Melbourne Cup win – his last victory over the 3200m of the Sydney Cup.
He faces a vastly different scenario here donning the number one saddlecloth, and his main rivals may never get a better opportunity to best him – as is the beauty of a handicap.
There’s no denying Almandin deserves his favouritism in the race, but he’ll have to do it the hard way if he is to hand Team Williams their fifth Sydney Cup.