Leading hoop Joao Moreira will ride Signoff in the 2014 Melbourne Cup if he is able to steer the progressive stayer to victory in the Group 3 Lexus Stakes (2500m) at Flemington on Saturday.
Signoff is currently at number 36 in the 2014 Melbourne Cup order of entry and is no chance of making the field due to attrition, but he has opened as a clear favourite in betting markets for the ballot-exempt Lexus Stakes.
Trainer Darren Weir is confident that Signoff can earn a place in the Melbourne Cup field by taking out the Lexus Stakes and he told TVN this morning that he elected to book Moreira to ride the Authorized gelding on Saturday because he wanted a jockey that was also available to partner the four-year-old in the 2014 Melbourne Cup.
“I had Glen Boss booked for the ride (in the Lexus Stakes), but he has confirmed he will be riding Who Shot Thebarman in the Melbourne Cup, and I wanted to have the same rider on in both races if he made the Cup field,” Weir said.
“I don’t know much about the guy, but he’s obviously very good and things happen for him, so when he was able to make the weights in both races it was a no-brainer really
“I’m not saying he’s going to come out and just win on Saturday and charge into the Cup field, but I’m happy with the way things are going.”
Signoff is yet to record a race win during his 2014 Spring Racing Carnival campaign, but he has impressed in his last two starts and has been kept safe by bookmaker at 2014 Melbourne Cup odds of $17.
The talented stayer returned to racing with an unlucky effort in the Wedrive Plate (1400m) at Caulfield on August 30 before he finished third behind Brambles and Big Memory in the Spring Is The Season Handicap (1700m) at Flemington on September 13.
Signoff was not suited by the tight-turning Moonee Valley circuit in the Group 3 JRA Cup (2040m) on September 26, but he returned to his best form in the Group 2 Herbert Power Stakes (2400m) at Caulfield on October 11 with a close second behind Big Memory and was a credible third behind Contributer and Noble Protector in the Group 3 David Jones Cup (2000m) at Caulfield on October 18.
Weir is hoping to have his runner in the Melbourne Cup since Leica Ding finished 14th behind Shocking in the 2009 edition of the race.
Signoff is currently available at 2014 Lexus Stakes odds of $2.80 and is a clear favourite from Lord Van Percy ($7.50), Caravan Rolls On ($8), Big Memory ($8) and La Amistad ($8).