The season’s record-breaking Victorian horseman Darren Weir is looking at a first-up run for his reigning Melbourne Cup winner Prince Of Penzance in the Makybe Diva Stakes 2016 this September.
Last spring the Pentire gelding scored a boilover in the $6 million Group 1 Melbourne Cup (3200m) at Flemington on the first Tuesday of November, winning the ‘race that stops a nation’ as a 101/1 outsider.
Prince Of Penzance has raced just once since his shock Melbourne Cup success, the six-year-old finishing second to Tonopah in an eye-catching Adelaide run on May 21 in the Group 3 RA Lee Stakes (1600m).
Weir is now looking at first-up options this Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival for the $4.4 million earner and has earmarked Flemington’s $500,000 Group 1 Makybe Diva Stakes (1600m) on September 10 as a possible resuming run.
Last week Prince Of Penzance put in an eye-catching gallop alongside Japanese stayer Tosen Stardom at Mortlake in Victoria, the latter with Weir for the spring having been prepared overseas by Yasutoshi Ikee.
Deep Impact stallion Tosen Stardom is targeting the $3 million Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m) at Moonee Valley on October 22 where he’ll clash with last year’s champ, the Chris Waller-trained Winx.
In related news, Prince Of Penzance’s Melbourne Cup winning jockey Michelle Payne is set to embark on a new career out of the saddle and take up training.
The first ever female hoop to win the world’s richest handicap, Payne was later sidelined with injury after a nasty race fall at Mildura in May and is looking at joining the training ranks in Melbourne applying for a dual jockey-trainer licence.
“I’ve been filling out all the paperwork and I’m applying for my licence this month, so hopefully in August we’ll be ready to go,” she told the media this week.
“I’ve been looking forward to this day for a few years now and done as much as I can, learning from other trainers. Hopefully I can make the most of it.”
Retiring from riding completely is something the 30-year-old has taken into serious consideration and she confirmed plans to train out of a stable in Ballarat.
“I’ve had a lot of time to plan retiring from riding, it’s a big transition,” she said.
“You dedicate your life to being a jockey and it’s very hard to give it away, walk away and do something else.
“It’s been a plan of mine for quite a few years now to get into training because I love racing, I love horses – I’m really passionate about it.
“I purchased a farm just next door to my dad’s farm in Ballarat and I’ve spent the last two years setting it up.
“I have plans to put in stables, a trotting arena, a round yard and some jumps. I think it’s the perfect set-up for training, so I’m looking forward to giving it a go.”
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