Trainer Darren Weir and connections have named the 2014 Bendigo Cup as the major spring aim for exciting staying prospect Signoff who could then be aimed at next year’s Caulfield and Melbourne Cup.
The Authorized gelding has already won six of their seven career starts, the two most recent by a combined 10 lengths.
A rising five-year-old, the Wangoom-based galloper has steadily been stepped up in distance over the past seven months and has done their best racing over 2400m – 2500m.
Five length winner of the Centrebet Stayers Final (2400m) at Bendigo on March 15 Signoff was last seen winning by the same margin against better company at Moonee Valley a fortnight later over 2500m in a Benchmark 90.
Showing bucket loads of potential, Weir and the horse’s owners won’t push them too far too soon.
Despite their sensational form they won’t be aimed at the Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival majors.
Instead the lightly-raced runner is being prepared for a shot at the $250,000 Listed Bendigo Cup (2400m) on October 29.
That’s the same race that put the fellow Weir-trained Puissance De Lune in the headlines two years ago.
The French import won the Bendigo Cup, their first black-type assignment, in 2012 by a blistering eight lengths causing jockey Glen Boss to label them a Melbourne Cup hope.
They backed up 10 days later and won the Group 3 Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2600m) by five lengths after missing out on a run in the world’s richest handicap.
Back in work after a tendon injury suffered when 12th in the Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m) last spring, Puissance De Lune is set for a first-up title defense in the Group 2 P.B. Lawrence Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield on August 16.
The Shamardal grey will then run in the $400,000 Group 1 Makybe Diva Stakes (1600m) at Flemington in early September, a race they finished a nose away second in behind Foreteller last year.
Weir said they would then consider their 2014 Cox Plate claims but that Puissance De Lune would unlikely to have a go at the $6.2 million Group 1 Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m) this November.
The breeding and form line of both Signoff and Puissance De Lune have come into the spotlight this week after Eliza Park International purchased a filly at the Tattersalls July Horse sale in England who is a half-sister to the former.
Due to arrive in Australia in September, the three-year-old daughter of Shamardal named Role Reversal was snapped up for AUS$76,344 and Eliza Park’s Phillip Marshall said it was her relation to Signoff that pushed them to make the purchase.
“The main reason we bought her of course is she is a half to Signoff and he looks like he could be absolutely anything,” Marshall told Racing Victoria.
“He’s in exactly the same mould as Puissance De Lune, same trainer, same owner, same sort of campaign this year, I think the main aim this year is the Bendigo Cup and then probably next year they’ll look at the Caulfield and Melbourne Cup I’d imagine.
“On all of his form and all of his ability you’d be disappointed if he wasn’t’ a stakes winner by the end of the year and then you have a nice Shamardal filly who’s a half to a stakes winner for about $80,000 here that looks pretty cheap.”
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