Timeform Preview – 2018 Tancred Stakes

An intriguing rematch between Gailo Chop and Almandin awaits in the group one Tancred Stakes at Rosehill this afternoon.
The only group one 1 1⁄2 m weight for age race in Australia, the Tancred Stakes is an ideal lead up to the 2 m Sydney Cup in three weeks’ time but importantly it gives top class stayers an opportunity to compete at the highest level and under the scale.
Traditionally the Tancred Stakes assembles the very best 1 1⁄2 m horses in training and it is a rare year where the field does not contain winners of some of Australia’s best staying races such as the Australian Cup, Caulfield Cup and Melbourne Cup to name a few.
Past winners of the Caulfield Cup such as Jameka (2016) and Melbourne Cup, Makybe Diva (2005), Ethereal (2001) and Might And Power (1998) have already etched their names on the honour roll and this afternoon another former Melbourne Cup winner Almandin will be looking to do the same.
However he faces still opposition from an in-form Gailo Chop, upset Australian Cup winner Harlem and Single Gaze as well as former Japanese stayer Ambitious and rising star Auvray.
Timeform ratings wise, Almandin has a few pounds to find against Gailo Chop however I believe Almandin’s proven superior staying form will be enough for him to turn the tables on their only meeting in the Australian Cup last start.
Almandin comes into the Tancred third run back from a spell and off a 21 day break – a proven successful winning formula for the now eight-year-old.
Almandin has shown a steady upward Timeform ratings profile this campaign both runs back being strong efforts that point to a peak effort this afternoon.
Almandin resumed at Caulfield over 1 1⁄4 m just going down to stable mate Homesman, then 14 days later was desperately unlucky in a messy Australian Cup behind Harlem where he finished an unlucky fourth with Gailo Chop clocking in just ahead of him in second place.
Champion rider Kerrin McEvoy regains the ride today and it is Almandin’s superior staying record of three wins from five starts at distances between 1 1⁄2 m and 1 9⁄16 m that stands out in his record.
Clearly his 2016 Melbourne Cup win was the highlight of his career to date but his peak Timeform rating came in his annihilation of the Japan Racing Trophy over 1 9⁄16 m at Flemington in the lead up to last year’s Melbourne Cup where he started a heavily equal favourite.
Former French galloper Gailo Chop now with champion trainer Darren Weir has proven a high class galloper since coming to Australia winning five of his 13 race starts including two at group one level.
In four runs since a spell, Gailo Chop has won three times and finished a close second in the messy Australian Cup. That said Gailo Chop has possibly one of the better runs in that race and appeared to have every chance after sitting out side the leader most of the way.
Last start in the group one Ranvet Stakes at Rosehill over 1 1⁄4 m, Gailo Chop bounced back to winning form leading most of the way to win decisively from Prized Icon and Single Gaze.
However he has to hold that form off a seven day back up and out to 1 1⁄2 m – a distance he has failed at in one previous attempt.
That run was in the group one Sheema Classic on World Cup night in Dubai behind Postponed finishing a well beaten seventh when racing in his preferred state of second up from a spell.
Timeform ratings suggest he is a slightly better horse now and current form dictates he is deserving of another chance.
If rider Mark Zahra can settle him in the lead, Gailo Chop and steal some cheap sectionals then he will certainly prove the hardest for Almandin to beat.
A query runner is former Japan galloper Ambitious who also comes off the messy Australian Cup.
To that end, not a lot could be gleaned from the performance however his Japanese form suggests he would be very competitive against a line up like this if trainer Anthony Freedman can find the key to him.
Although yet to race past 1 3⁄8 m, Ambitious has a good second up record and should be included amongst the multiples.

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