Trainer Darren Weir has revealed that the Listed Mornington Cup (2400m) is the major summer goal for progressive stayer Prince Of Penzance who will return to the races in the Western Health Handicap(1410m) at Flemington on Saturday.
Prince Of Penzance made his racing debut with a victory in the Boronia Peak Villas Plate Maiden (1300m) at Stawell on March 8 and worked his way through the grades nicely to stamp himself as a stayer to watch.
The son of Pentire missed the jump and finished third in the Johno’s Diner Handicap (1350m) at Donald on March 25 but returned to the winners stall with an impressive victory in the Top Tote Plus Handicap (1600m) at Ballarat on April 11.
Prince Of Penzance made his metropolitan debut in the Echucamoama.Com Handicap (1800m) at Caulfield on April 26 and finished a narrow second, despite being checked in the early stages of the race, before ending his campaign with a win in the Green Fields Handicap (2000m) at Flemington on May 4.
The four-year-old made his first public appearance when third in a barrier trial at Camperdown on November 18 and Weir believes that the talented gelding has returned for his second racing campaign as a much more mature horse.
“He did a lot wrong in his last run but he’s grown up in himself and he’s a lot better,” Weir told AAP.
“He has matured in himself and in his brain as well, so we’re hoping that will help him.
“He’s had two trials and Michelle has ridden him and she has been very happy with him.”
The Mornington Cup on Wednesday February 12 is the ultimate target for Prince Of Penzance and his performance in the Listed event will likely affect his 2014 Spring Racing Carnival campaign; with the Mornington Cup winner earning ballot exempt entry into the Group 1 Caulfield Cup (2400m).
The Western Health Handicap is currently a very open betting race; with Nautical ($5.50), Prince Of Penzance ($7.50), Sistine Demon ($8), Grand Slam Eagle ($8), Flying Hostess ($9) and Edgewood ($9) all available at single figure odds.
Nicki Burke-trained Nautical is taking winning form into the Western Health Handicap after defeating a strong field to win the 1Print.Com.Au Handicap (1600m) at Moonee Valley on November 23, despite being inconvenienced at the start of the race.