Darren Weir has confirmed plans for defending champion Prince Of Penzance to head towards the Melbourne Cup 2016 this spring after an eye-catching return in Adelaide last month.
The six-year-old son of Pentire gave Weir the biggest thrill of his training career to date wen scoring the upset as a $101 roughie in last November’s $6 million Group 1 Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m).
Prince Of Penzance returned to racing in Adelaide on May 21 and was far from disgraced when finishing just a half-length away second to Tonopah in the Group 3 RA Lee Stakes (1600m).
Weir was impressed with the comeback of his $4.43 million earner and confirmed a title defence in the ‘race that stops a nation’ was on the agenda this Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival.
“He’s going really well, he ran in Adelaide two weeks ago and it was a terrific run,” Weir said when speaking at the 2016 Emirates Melbourne Cup Tour launch this week.
“He’s certainly heading towards the Cup again this year.”
That said, Weir added that Prince Of Penzance owed them nothing and would be immediately retired should he show any signs of no longer wanting to race.
“Prince Of Penzance doesn’t have to do anything else for us, if he shows any sign of not wanting to do it anymore or has any soundness issues or anything like that he’ll be retired straight away,” Weir said.
“He’s done all he needs to do.”
Weir also has his 2014 Melbourne Cup fourth placegetter Signoff heading towards the famous Flemington Race 7 on the first Tuesday of November.
After plenty of times on the sidelines with injury, Authorized six-year-old Signoff had two strong autumn runs earlier this year including his Group 3 Lord Reims Stakes (2600m) in Adelaide on March 5.
“We’ve got horses we’re aiming towards it [the Melbourne Cup 2016] but whether they’re good enough I’m not sure,” Weir said.
“We didn’t know whether Prince Of Penzance was good enough and we were lucky to win it so hopefully we’ve got a couple more horses heading in that direction and if you get them there fit and well on the day, and you get a bit of luck, you never know what happens.”
All-in Melbourne Cup betting at Ladbrokes.com.au are currently co-led by Japanese raider Fame Game and the Lloyd Williams-owned import The United States at $17.
The Yoshitada Munakata-trained Heart’s Cry stallion Fame Game embarked on a Spring Cups’ campaign down under last year finishing sixth in the Group 1 Caulfield Cup (2400m) and 13th in the Melbourne Cup beaten 5.5 lengths by Prince Of Penzance.
The United States is also a 2015 Melbourne Cup graduate, Robert Hickmott’s Galileo six-year-old 14th in the world’s richest handicap last season.
He enjoyed a strong autumn campaign that included a Group 1 Ranvet Stakes (2000m) win at Rosehill in March and a second to Lucia Valentina in Randwick’s Group 1 Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m) during ‘The Championships’.
Prince Of Penzance meanwhile can be found further down the futures Melbourne Cup odds at $34 to go back-to-back in the two mile classic for the first time since the mighty Makybe Diva won three on the trot from 2003-05.
Signoff is shorter in betting at $21 to hand Weir with his second ‘Loving Trophy’.
To check out the full Melbourne Cup 2016 futures markets and lock in generous early odds on your selections visit Ladbrokes.com.au today!