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Brown confident of Almairac's Tatt's Cup hopes

Wed 26 June 2024

By Glenn Davis

It’s a massive leap from a Benchmark race to a Group 3, but Mornington trainer Cliff Brown likes a challenge and is hopeful imported stayer Almairac can give him his second Tattersall’s Cup at Eagle Farm on Saturday.

Brown won the Tattersall’s Cup with Spirit Of Westbury in 2000 before he headed to Singapore to continue his career.

Almairac has only started six times, for three wins, including a maiden victory at his third start at Pakenham in Victoria in February.

“We bought him as a yearling in England after our bloodstock agent, Alistair Donald, gave us a few to choose from,” Brown said.

“He took a while for him to settle in here but with his pedigree he was always going to be a late comer.”

A son of British sire Golden Horn, Almairac stepped up in distance to win a Benchmark race over 1950 metres at Yarra Valley in late March which sealed his trip north for a winter campaign in Queensland.

The four-year-old was well backed when second in his first Queensland start in a 1690 metre Benchmark race at Ipswich on May 22 before a near four length win over 2200 metres in a heat of the Winter Provincial Stayers series at the Sunshine Coast on June 9.

Brown wants to see how Almairac performs in the Tatt’s Cup before settling on a spring program in Melbourne.

“This is a massive step up in grade but he did a great job winning at the Sunshine Coast last start,” Brown said.

“I was going to run him in the Ipswich Cup but I felt the bigger Eagle Farm track would suit him better and a horse called Incentivise came out of this race a few years ago to win the Caulfield Cup.”

Brown, who has won 17 Group 1s - five in Australia and 12 in Singapore - returned from overseas three years ago after a highly successful 16-year training stint overseas.

He claimed his first Group 1 winner with Cheviot in the South Australian Derby in 1996.

He won the same race in 1997 with Markham who later went on to finish third to Might And Power in the Melbourne Cup that year.

Brown was regularly in the top five bracket of trainers during his Singapore stint.

One of his best horses in Singapore was Debt Collector who won the Horse Of The Year crown in 2016.

Debt Collector won 12 of his 24 starts for Brown in Singapore before ending his career in 2020 after eight unplaced Australian starts for Victorian trainer Jim Conlan.