Jockey Harry Coffey is confident his chance at winning the Melbourne Cup in November Signoff will be “steaming home” late in his first-up run at Morphettville Parks on Saturday.
The Darren Weir-trained Authorized gelding kicks off his seven-year-old season in the weight-for-age $100,000 Listed Penny Edition Stakes (1400m) with Coffey excited to reunite with the proven stayer.
A young Victorian-based hoop, Coffey rode Signoff three times on the trot for the horse’s summer – autumn campaign last season starting with the disqualified run in the Listed Lord Stakes (1700m) at Caulfield on Boxing Day due to a positive Ibuprofen result.
After that the duo ran second to Swacadelic at Moonee Valley in the Listed Torney Cup (2500m) before a last start win at Morphettville in the Group 3 Lord Reims Stakes (2600m) on March 5.
Signoff is best known for his fourth to Protectionist in the $6.2 million Group 1 Melbourne Cup (3200m) two years ago, Brazilian jockey Joao Moreira in the saddle.
The 2016 Melbourne Cup on Tuesday November 1 over the two miles at Flemington Racecourse is again on the cards for Signoff, and Coffey admits winning the ‘race that stops a nation’ is a definite dream of his.
“I’d be lying if I said I don’t think about it,” he told Racing Ahead on RSN 927.
“I think every jockey dreams about winning a Melbourne Cup and when you’ve got a legitimate chance … the dream comes more alive.
“There’s still a long way to go but it will a very exciting couple of months for me and exciting for a lot of people going towards the Melbourne Cup.
“It’s hard to win, but the dream is alive.”
The Spring Cups bid for Signoff begins this weekend with the galloper drawn in barrier four in a capacity field of 14 for the Penny Edition Stakes with Coffey keen to show his form with the Melbourne Cup in mind.
“I wasn’t really sat down and told [the Melbourne Cup rid is yours], it’s just ‘you do the work and it’s your ride to lose’,” Coffey said.
“There’s a lot of water to go under the bridge and I’m just happy to be involved.
“I’ve just finished my apprenticeship and it’s a great opportunity for me and hopefully I can grab it with both hands and make the best of it.”
Coffey knows the speed is set to be on in the middle-distance sprint and that his mount has plenty of improvement to come with his Grand Final still a few months away.
“I think they’ll probably go pretty quickly over there at Morphettville, especially on the Parks circuit,” he said.
“So he’ll probably be left a little bit behind early but he’ll be very powerful late, as he always is – he’ll be steaming home.
“We’ll have to look and see how he is, he’s still pretty big in condition and still a bit off peak fitness but it’s very exciting to have him back.”
Despite his ability over more metres Signoff has won over 1400m previously, but it was in his race debut back in 2013 at Terang.
Current Penny Edition Stakes odds at Ladbrokes.com.au are led by Weir’s market mover Ulmann ($3.30) vying for a third win on the trot.
Signoff’s stablemate is a five-year-old son of Sebring who saluted over the distance (1400m) at Caulfield and Flemington over the past month.
Also at single figures, Signoff pays $7.50 in Penny Edition Stakes betting.
“He’s come back well and he’s very happy,” Coffey added.
“He’s a pretty casual fella in his trackwork but come race day he competes at his best.
“It’s very exciting to have him back and I’m rapt to be aboard.”
In futures Melbourne Cup betting Signoff is being kept safe as the equal $17 second favourite with last year’s European-trained runner-up Max Dynamite.
Fellow international raider Order Of St George is the $11 favourite after winning the Ascot Gold Cup during our winter.
For all the best odds on this weekend’s racing and the Melbourne Cup 2016 head to Ladbrokes.com.au now!