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Almandin headlines Lloyd’s Zipping assault

LLOYD Williams intends to gang-tackle the race named after his former star, the Zipping Classic, at Sandown Hillside on Saturday.

There were only nine nominations for the race and Williams owns three of them — Almandin, The Taj Mahal and Assign.

“The Zipping Classic is a race I’m partial to for obvious reasons, being named after one of my favourite horses who won this race four times,” Williams said.


Zipping won the race from 2007 to 2010, which prompted the Melbourne Racing Club to rename the 2400m staying event — from the Sandown Classic to the Zipping Classic — after the galloper.

Williams also won the race in 2012 with Tanby and in 2003 with Legible.

Leading his attack is last year’s Melbourne Cup hero, Almandin who finished 12th this year after starting equal favourite when ridden by Frankie Dettori.

Williams said Almandin had recovered from his Melbourne Cup run after there were some initial concerns.

“He wasn’t perfect after the race. We thought it was in his knees but it was in his sacro (sacroiliac joint).

“He’s had a bit of treatment and he he’s full of beans and we are thinking he will bounce back.”

His regular jockey Damien Oliver will regain the mount as he returns from suspension On Friday night.

Williams said imported galloper The Taj Mahal, who thrilled him with his fourth in The Emirates, was also likely to run on Saturday.

“(The) only provision is that I will monitor him to see how he pulled up from last Saturday on the hard track … if he’s not fully affected, he’ll start.”

Williams said The Taj Mahal would be ridden by Ben Melham and Assign by Kerrin McEvoy.
Assign hasn’t started since he finished fifth in the Herbert Power Stakes and Williams said he was one of his starters who struggled with the firm track at Caulfield over the carnival.

Williams said he felt the tracks were too firm at both of the Caulfield meetings.

There were nine nominations for the race, including Darren Weir’s Melbourne Cup fourth placegetter, Big Duke.

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