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Darren Weir’s Perth expat Neverland will continue onto the Brisbane Cup 2017 in a fortnight following a lead-up run at Eagle Farm on Kingsford-Smith Cup Day.
The five-year-old daughter of Big Brown is one of 14 remaining runners in Saturday’s $125,000 Group 3 Channel Seven Premier’s Cup (2200m) at Eagle Farm Racecourse.
The handicap clash is a traditional lead-up to the $300,000 Group 2 Brisbane Cup (2400m) run back at the track on Stradbroke Handicap Day, June 10, over the mile and a half.
Weir has always had the Brisbane Cup in mind for Neverland this winter, the mare looking to break a notable winning drought.
“I’m really happy with her,” Weir told Racing Victoria this week.
“These are the races that we have had in mind for her all along and this run should have her spot on [for the Brisbane Cup].”
Formerly prepared in W.A. she has won six of her 20 career runs but hasn’t been first past the post since November of 2015 at Ascot.
Runner-up to Delicacy in last year’s Group 2 Perth Cup (2400m), Neverland was also second best in the Perth Cup results on New Year’s Eve when finishing a devastatingly close margin behind the winner Star Exhibit.
She transferred to Weir’s Victorian stables after that and has had two runs in Melbourne since, most recently crossing under two lengths back for fourth to Hursley over 2000m at Caulfield in a Benchmark 84 on May 13.
Neverland carted a hefty 59.5kg that day even with the apprentice claim of Mitchell Allen and will appreciate the huge drop in weight to the 54kg minimum in today’s Premier’s Cup.
Damian Lane takes over in the saddle and while Neverland has work to do from the outside barrier, she is being kept safe in Premier’s Cup betting at Ladbrokes.com.au.
“Of course I would have rather she’d drawn a [good] gate so she could be in a more forward position, but that’s the jockey’s problem now,” Weir said after Neverland was forced to race wide throughout last start at Caulfield.
Markets are narrowly led by Mick Price’s Group 3 Chairman’s Handicap (2000m) runner-up The Chairman ($4.80) after the winner of that race – Stampede – was scratched from the Premier’s Cup field.
Neverland meanwhile is the genuine Premier’s Cup market mover backed right in from $9 to $5.50 to handle the class rise and the Heavy (8) Eagle Farm track.
She’s had just the one run on Heavy going to date, but the bookies are taking no chances with the Brisbane Cup-bound stayer who looks set to peak third-up.
To back Neverland in the Premier’s Cup 2017 and for all the top Brisbane Winter Racing Carnival odds head to Ladbrokes.com.au now.
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