11/04/2017 11:36AM

Almandin leads squad for owner Williams in Melbourne Cup


Almandin gave Australian horse owner Lloyd Williams a fifth win in the Melbourne Cup last year. Williams is after more. In Tuesday’s Group 1 Melbourne Cup at Flemington Racecourse, Williams is co-owner of six runners, or 25 percent of the field, for the $4.63 million handicap race at two miles on turf.

Post time is 11 p.m. Eastern on Monday.

Aside from Almandin, Williams has a direct rooting interest in Bondi Beach, Gallante, Johannes Vermeer, Rekindling, and U S Army Ranger.

As of Saturday, Almandin was the 13-2 favorite from post 14. Frankie Dettori, winless in 15 starts in the Melbourne Cup, rides Almandin for the first time. Almandin is trained by Robert Hickmott, who has two other longshot runners for Williams in Bondi Beach (50-1) and Gallante (100-1).

Aidan O’Brien trains Johannes Vermeer, while his son, Joseph, starts Rekindling and U S Army Ranger. Rekindling was fourth in the Group 1 English St. Leger at Doncaster in September. This will be his first start in Australia.

Hartnell, who was third in the 2016 Melbourne Cup, is the top weight of 126.7 pounds. He was 25-1 as of Saturday.

Almandin will carry 124.5 pounds. An 8-year-old German-bred gelding, Almandin won the minor JRA Trophy at 1 9/16 miles at Flemington on Sept. 16 and was fourth behind Melbourne Cup runner Amelie’s Star in the Group 3 Bart Cummings Stakes at 1 9/16 miles at Flemington on Oct. 7.

Marmelo and Humidor are also well supported at 8-1 as of Saturday.

Marmelo, who will carry 121.2 pounds, is one of 11 European shippers. Marmelo, trained by Hughie Morrison, won the Group 2 Prix Kergorlay at 1 7/8 miles at Deauville, France, on Aug. 20 and was sixth behind Boom Time in the Group 1 Caulfield Cup at 1 1/2 miles on Oct. 21.

Humidor, who has been assigned 123.4 pounds, was second to Australian Horse of the Year Winx in the Group 1 Cox Plate at 1 1/2 miles at Moonee Valley on Oct. 28. Winx is being given a rest following her recent win. She was not considered for the Melbourne Cup.

The Cox Plate is Australia’s leading weight-for-age race. The Melbourne Cup will be the first start at two miles for Humidor, who will carry 123.4 pounds.