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INSIDE HEADQUARTERS ISSUE 1 2017
ALMANDIN COMES OUT ON TOP
BY BRAD BISHOP
ANOTHER THRILLING FINISH IN THE 2016 EMIRATES MELBOURNE CUP PROVED THAT IT IS
ONE OF THE ONLY RACES IN ANY SPORT WHERE SECOND PLACE IS CELEBRATED AND REMEMBERED
ALMOST AS MUCH AS FIRST.
The winner of Australia’s most
famous race etches their name
into sporting folklore, but it’s not
uncommon for a horse to be remembered
for finding one better on the first Tuesday
Take Kingston Town for example. He
won 14 Group 1s, including three Cox
Plates, but is almost as well known for his
second placing in the 1982 Melbourne Cup
when cut down late by Gurner’s Lane.
The 1991 Melbourne Cup is
remembered not only for Let’s Elope’s (NZ)
brilliance, but also the protest lodged by
second placegetter Shiva’s Revenge (NZ),
while Greg Hall can’t escape his misjudged
‘victory salute’ aboard Doriemus (NZ),
who lost out to Might And Power (NZ) in a
photo finish, in 1997.
The 2006 Emirates Melbourne Cup is
remembered as ‘the Japanese quinella’,
meaning runner-up Pop Rock (JPN) is
almost as famous as the winner, Delta
Then there’s Bauer (IRE) who, in 2008,
was beaten by the narrowest margin
in the history of the race, an unwanted
distinction he only held for three years,
thanks to Red Cadeaux (GB).
Anyone with a passing interest in racing
can tell you that Red Cadeaux’s near-miss
second place behind Dunaden (FR) was
the first of three Emirates Melbourne Cup
second placings for the crowd favourite,
but plenty wouldn’t be able to name the
other two winning horses.
Thanks to a French-bred, Irish-trained
gelding and an enthusiastic bunch of
owners, 2016 Emirates Melbourne Cup
runner-up Heartbreak City (FR) won just
as many fans as the horse who beat him
home, Almandin (GER).
The most popular piece of footage on
social media following the 156th running
of the Emirates Melbourne Cup was Neil
Kearney’s interview with part-owner Aidan
Shiels just seconds after Heartbreak City
went down by a short head.
After giving the Channel 7 storyteller
a bear hug that probably required
chiropractic treatment, burly red-head
Shiels rambled about not caring about
having to settle for second.
An appearance by Darren Dance of
Australian Thoroughbred Bloodstock,
which race Heartbreak City in partnership
with his Irish owners, at the following
day’s Kyneton Cup meeting suggested
the runners-up partied harder than
But that’s the Emirates Melbourne Cup.
Making the field is an achievement, a top-
10 finish makes it a profitable exercise, a
minor placing warrants a celebration and
victory is a life-changing experience.
The fact Heartbreak City owners, along
with their obliging trainer Tony Martin,
took the defeat so well ensured their role
in the race will be remembered fondly.
Which is appropriate, as Almandin and
Heartbreak City took part in one of the all-
time great Cup finishes.
The margin was not quite as tight as
Viewed and Bauer or Dunaden and Red
Cadeaux, or even Might and Power and
Doriemus, but the tussle to the line was
every bit as enthralling as Delta Blues and
They settled down to fight out the race
from the 300 metre mark, having started
their runs from much earlier than that.
At no stage were they separated by
more than three lengths with Kerrin
McEvoy settling Almandin ($11) directly
behind Heartbreak City ($19), who was
ridden by Hong Kong-based Brazilian
superstar João Moreira, until the
800m when he ranged up alongside
Hartnell (GB), the $5.50 favourite,
attempted to go with them but it was
evident early in the straight that third
place was the best he could hope for.
McEvoy, on the outside, and Moreira
threw everything at their mounts from
the 250 metre mark. That was until 50m
out when both abandoned the whip to
ride hands and heels.
It was around that point Almandin
gained the ascendancy. That, however,
was probably due to the fact Heartbreak
City, with 54kg, was carrying 2kg more
than Almandin rather than the need
for further encouragement with the
McEvoy created his own slice of history
with his second Cup win, which came
16 years after his first, as a 20-year-old,
on Brew (NZ). No jockey who has won
the race more than once waited as long
between their first and second wins as the
Robert Hickmott, Almandin’s trainer, is
now also a two-time winner of the race.
Lloyd Williams’ private trainer also put the
polish on 2012 winner Green Moon (IRE). He
has now won as many Melbourne Cups as
immortals Tommy Smith and Colin Hayes.
The German import Almandin came to
Australia with a big reputation thanks to a
Group 2 win over Protectionist (GER) just
five months before that horse won the
2014 Emirates Melbourne Cup.
The Monsun gelding failed to place
in moderate company at his first three
starts in Australia, but emerged as a Cup
hope when he won the Listed Harry White
Classic and Group 3 The Bart Cummings
at his final two starts before the Emirates
Melbourne Cup. Those two races are
named after the most successful trainer
and the equal most successful jockey in
Melbourne Cup history.
Almandin’s Emirates Melbourne Cup
success earned Williams the boast of
being the most successful owner in the
history of the race with five wins. Five is
also the number of horses who have won
the Melbourne Cup more than once. The
question now is whether Almandin can
make it six in 2017.
2016 EMIRATES MELBOURNE CUP
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