Prince Of Penzance is on track to defend his Melbourne Cup crown when he returned to the race track with an eye catching second in the Group 3 $150,000 Robert & Fay Gerald R A Lee Stakes (1600m) at Morphettville last Saturday.
Michelle Payne teamed up again with Prince Of Penzance who was having his first run back since winning the 2015 Group 1 $6m Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m) at Flemington last November.
Payne created history when she became the first female jockey to win the Melbourne Cup on the $101 outsider.
Trainer Darren Weir was very pleased with the first up effort of Prince Of Penzance to run second, beaten half a length, behind his stablemate Tonopah in the L A Lee Stakes and Weir will stick to his plan of only giving the six year old one run during Adelaide’s Festival Of Racing before preparing him for the Spring Carnival.
“It was terrific, wasn’t it?’’ Weir said.
“The plan was to just give him a good break after his Cup win, then bring him back in and give him a run, then an easy couple of weeks before starting again.”
Payne has been the regular rider for Prince Of Penzance and has been on his back for twenty-four of his twenty-five starts and is looking forward to teaming up with him again in the Spring with another Melbourne Cup in her sights.
“It’s obviously very hard to win one (Melbourne Cup), let alone two, but he’s a special horse, so who knows,” Payne said.
“I can’t wait for another Spring Carnival with him.”
Weir is leaning towards a weight for age Spring campaign for Prince Of Penzance leading up to the Melbourne Cup with the exception of the Group 2 $250,000 Moonee Valley Gold Cup (2500m) at Moonee Valley which is run under set weights with penalties.
Prince Of Penzance has a great record in the Moonee Valley Gold Cup, winning it in 2014 before running second last year to The United States at his final run before winning the Melbourne Cup.
“He has going to run in that sort of races (WFA) weight wise,” Weir said.
“I didn’t expect to win the Cup last year, when he was well weighted. This year he is going as good as he ever has. Top ten chance again we will be aiming for.”
“I think realistically the race he could win would be the Moonee Valley Cup. He has run well in that, he gets in okay on the weights, and it is perfect timing before the big race.”
“We will be focusing on the Moonee Valley Cup. If he runs well in that, his form will be good for the Melbourne Cup then.”
In early betting for the 2016 Melbourne Cup, Prince Of Penzance is listed as a $51 chance at Ladbrokes.com.au.
Japanese stayer Fame Game heads the market order at $17 along with Group 1 Ranvet Stakes winner The United States ahead of 2015 Melbourne Cup runner up Max Dynamite, English stayer Order Of St George, the Weir trained Signoff and Victoria Derby winner Tarzino all at $21.