A capacity field of sixteen fillies will line up...
One time Queensland Derby chance Prince Of Penzance may have had their winter dreams foiled but trainer Darren Weir is hoping for a successful summer – autumn comeback targeting the Mornington Cup 2014.
The Pentire gelding was on track for a trip to Brisbane for a shot at the $500,000 Group 1 Queensland Derby (2400m) last season before a fetlock injury saw their season plans shelved.
A winner on debut at Stawell back in March, Prince Of Penznace has won three of their five starts to date with subsequent victories at Ballarat over the mile and Flemington when stepped up to 2000m in May.
That Flemington win would turn out to be their final as a three-year-old after they pulled up lame with subsequent scans showing they had a chip in a fetlock that needed surgery.
Weir has guided them through a full recovery and the now four-year-old is ready for their first-up assignment, back at Flemington, this Saturday.
After a solid third in an 850m trial at Camperdown late last month Prince Of Penzance is accepted to resume in the last at Flemington on the weekend.
They are the 58kg top weight, to be ridden by Michelle Payne, from barrier nine of 15 in the $80,000 Western Health Handicap (1410m).
Race favourite is the in-form Niello mare Nautical ($6.50) coming off a Moonee Valley win over the mile.
Prince Of Penzance meanwhile is second elect in the markets at a quote of $7.50, a nice price according to Weir who knows just how much maturing they’ve done during their down time.
“He did a lot wrong in his last run but he’s grown up in himself and he’s a lot better,” Weir told AAP.
“He has matured in himself and in his brain as well, so we’re hoping that will help him.”
Payne has ridden them for all five of their starts to date and is looking forward to reuniting and continuing the association on Saturday.
“He’s had two trials and Michelle has ridden him. She has been happy with him,” Weir said.
If all goes to plan Weir will keep them in light work over the summer with an eye on the $350,000 Listed Mornington Cup (2400m) on February 12.
The Mornington Cup winner is exempt from ballot for the $2.5 million Group 1 Caulfield Cup (2400m) during the spring which at this stage is probably just a pipe dream for the Prince.
To follow all the summer and autumn racing action in Melbourne stay tuned to Races.com.au.
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