Melbourne Cup winner Prince Of Penzance is no certainty to go around in the Group 2 $400,000 Ladbrokes Herbert Power Stakes (2400m) at Caulfield on Saturday if the track is too hard.
The Caulfield track was rated a Good 3 on Friday morning and trainer Darren Weir will inspect the track on Saturday with former jockey Darryn Murphy to decide if Prince Of Penzance steps out on Saturday or is saved for the Listed $300,000 Cranbourne Cup (2025m) at Cranbourne on Sunday.
“I will get Darryn Murphy to walk the Caulfield track and see if it’s all right,” Weir told the Herald Sun.
“If it’s too firm, we’ll go to Cranbourne.”
The Caulfield track received 8mm of watering in the last twenty four hours with more water to be applied today with only a slight chance of a shower forecast for Friday and Saturday.
The Cranbourne track is currently rated a soft 6 but the Cranbourne Turf Club chief Neil Bainbridge said he could see the track getting back to a Good 4 with the fine weather.
Prince Of Penzance has the 60kg top weight in both the Herbert Power Stakes and the Cranbourne Cup with Irish jockey John Allen booked to ride on both days.
The seven year old stayer has had three runs back in the Spring over unsuitable distances and the 2400m of the Herbert Power Stakes is what he is looking for at this stage of his preparation as he tries to find some good form as he heads towards defending his title in the Group 1 $6m Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m) at Flemington on November 1.
Prince Of Penzance could only beat one runner home first up when eleventh to stablemate Black Heart Bart in the Group 1 $500,000 New Zealand Bloodstock Memsie Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield on August 27 followed by a sixth to another Weir runner in Palentino in the Group 1 $500,000 PFD Food Services Makybe Diva Stakes (1600m) at Flemington on September 10.
At his latest run Prince Of Penzance was always near the tail of the field before finishing ninth to Black Heart Bart again in the Group 1 $500,000 Hyland Race Colours Underwood Stakes (1800m) at Caulfield on September 24.
Prince Of Penzance is rated the outsider of the field in the seven horse Herbert Power Stakes at $10 while in the Cranbourne Cup he is on the third line of betting at $6.50 behind the front running The Cleaner at $4.50 and the Lee and Anthony Freedman trained Tom Melbourne at $4.80.
Market order for the Herbert Power Stakes at Ladbrokes.com.au: $3 Assign, $4 Howard Be Thy Name, $6 Big Memory, $7 Pemberley, $9 Dandy Gent, $9.50 Master Zephyr, $10 Prince Of Penzance.