History making jockey Michelle Payne will watch from the sidelines as her Melbourne Cup winning partner Prince Of Penzance kicks off his 2016 Spring Carnival campaign in the Group 1 $500,000 New Zealand Bloodstock Memsie Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield on Saturday.
Payne created history when she became the first female jockey to win Australia’s most famous race, the Group 1 $6m Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m) at Flemington last November.
But she lost the ride on the Darren Weir trained Prince Of Penzance in the Memsie Stakes because she is still recovering from injuries she received in a nasty fall at Mildura in May.
“It is going to be hard to watch him on Saturday, but hopefully he’ll run well for the owners and Darren (Weir) anyway,” Payne told RSN’s Racing Ahead.
Payne has been cleared to ride after building up her strength following pancreatic surgery as a result of the fall and the owners of Prince Of Penzance have opted for the promising young rider Harry Coffey to take her place this Saturday.
“I can totally understand where they’re coming from, and I am just rapt to see Harry on him on Saturday,” Payne said.
“Harry’s always here doing trials and working hard behind the scenes, I’d be absolutely rapt if he ran well for Harry.”
Payne and Prince Of Penzance have been virtually inseparable throughout the seven year old’s career with the pair partnering up in twenty-four of his twenty-five race starts and Payne was very disappointed not to be aboard the tough stayer as he prepares to defend his Melbourne Cup title.
Although Payne has missed out on the ride in the Memsie Stakes, she has had a feel of Prince Of Penzance in some of his recent track work and said that he felt better than he did last Spring.
“I have been on him a few times this time around, and I can’t believe how well he’s going,” Payne said.
“He’s even stepped up a notch from last year. It was his first preparation coming off not having a bone chip removed.
“He’s definitely thriving.”
Prince Of Penzance has had one run since winning the 2015 Melbourne Cup and with Payne in the saddle ran a very respectable race when second to stablemate Tonopah in the Group 3 $150,000 Robert & Fay Gerard R A Lee Stakes (1600m) at Morphettville on May 21.
In early betting for the Memsie Stakes at Ladbrokes.com.au, Prince Of Penzance is considered as one of the outsiders of the field while stablemate Black Heart Bart is at the top of the market order at $2.70.
Weir will also saddle up the well fancied Mahuta at $6.50 and Palentino at $7.50.
Early market order for the Memsie Stakes at Ladbrokes.com.au: $2.70 Black Heart Bart, $6.50 Mahuta, $7.50 Palentino, $11 Lord Of The Sky, $13 Alpine Eagle, $15 Tarzino, $18 Sofia Rosa, $19 Rising Romance, $20 He Or She, $26 Charmed Harmony, Tavago, $34 Tally, $41 Prince Of Penzance, $81 Tashbeeh.