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Melbourne Cup winner Almandin returns at Moonee Valley

The title defence of Melbourne Cup winner Almandin begins in a 2040m-handicap at Moonee Valley on Saturday with Ben Melham to ride.

The Lloyd Williams-owned stayer hasn’t raced since defeating Heartbreak City in last year’s Cup at Flemington with Kerrin McEvoy aboard.

Almandin has drawn barrier five in the field of 10 in Saturday’s MSC Signs Handicap and will be ridden by Ben Melham with online bookmaker Sportsbet.com.au opening him at $6.50.

It will be Melham’s first ride on the eight-year-old.

“I can’t offer much more than what anyone else knows about him,” Melham said.

“I haven’t ridden him in any of his work but it’s a good opportunity to be riding the horse in his return run.”

Melham rode with success for Williams during the autumn carnival.

He rode Assign to victory in the Neville Sellwood Stakes at Randwick and was aboard The United States who finished third in the Group One Ranvet Stakes at Rosehill.

“I had a bit of luck riding for Lloyd during the autumn,” Melham said.

“He’s got some nice horses heading towards the spring so it’s a good stable to be riding for.”

Melham heads to Sydney on Friday morning to partner Golden Slipper winner She Will Reign in an 800m-trial at Warwick Farm.

The jockey said he was looking forward to again partnering the filly who gave him his biggest win.

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