Darren Weir has booked Hong Kong-based “Magic Man” jockey Joao Moreira to ride Signoff in the Group 3 Lexus Stakes (2500m), a must-win race for the stayer if he hopes to make the 2014 Melbourne Cup field next Tuesday.
Weir booked the international world-class hoop after Glen Boss could not commit to riding Signoff in the Group 1 Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m) should he make the final field, with the trainer wanting the same rider in both races.
Signoff is currently at 37 in the Melbourne Cup order of entry but with only 24 places on the final field the gelding will need to win the 2014 Lexus Stakes to gain a start, as it carries a ballot exemption for the race that stops the nation.
If anyone can bring home Signoff for the much-needed victory, it’ll be Moreira. The champion hoop will have a busy Saturday as he is also set to ride in three Group One races on Victoria Derby Day, including the main event.
He is set to ride the Chris Waller-trained He’s Your Man in the Mackinnon Stakes, Brazen Beau in the Coolmore Stud Stakes, and Atmosphere in the VRC Derby.
He will also partner Azkadillia in the Group 3 Carbine Club Stakes (1600m) and Candelara in the Group 2 Wakeful Stakes (2000m), which means Moreira will ride in six of the nine featured races on Saturday.
He cleaned up last time he made the journey to Flemington on Turnbull Stakes Day, with trainers hopeful he’ll recreate this success.
“It’s good, we’re happy to have him,” Weir told racing.com.
Signoff had a “good strong gallop” on Saturday and will run with blinkers on in the Lexus following a slow third-finish last time out in the Group 3 David Jones Cup (2000m).
“He’s really good; we’re happy with the way he is going,” Weir said.
Signoff is a $51 shot to win the 2014 Melbourne Cup with Ladbrokes.com.au, which is sure to shorten should he win the Lexus Stakes and earn his spot on the field.
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