Last Year’s Melbourne Cup winner Prince Of Penzance is shaping up nicely in preparation for his defence of the ‘Race That Stops A Nation’ on the first Tuesday in November.
Jockey Michelle Payne was back on board Prince Of Penzance for a crucial gallop at Ballarat on Monday as he prepares to resume for the Spring Carnival with the Group 1 $6m Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m) at Flemington on November 1 his main Spring Goal.
Prince Of Penzance galloped with stablemate Signoff and both stayers are likely to head on the same course towards the Melbourne Cup.
Payne created history when she became the first female jockey to win the Melbourne Cup on $101 outsider Prince Of Penance but her chances of riding him again this year hinge on her recovering from injuries she received in a fall at Mildura in May.
Payne had to undergo pancreatic surgery to repair damage she suffered in the fall and has only started riding track work again in the last couple of weeks.
Prince Of Penzance’s part owner John Richards said that the owners’ group would love to have Payne back in the saddle again this year but will leave the final decision up to trainer Darren Weir.
“We’d love to have her back on again in good condition to ride the horse,” Richards told racing.com’s Racing Ahead on RSN 927.
“That will be a bit hard to decide, how she’s coming along.”
“She’s certainly putting everything into it.”
“In the long run, the owners’ group will leave the decision up to Darren, to decide whether she’s ready to ride at the elite level for this year’s Cup.”
Weir is happy with the way Prince Of Penzance is progressing and the seven year old is set to resume in the Spring in the Group 1 $500,000 Makybe Diva Stakes (1600m) at Flemington on September 10.
“He’s very sound and he’s a very happy horse. He’s in good shape,” Weir said.
“Last year he had a great preparation and nothing went wrong. He was able to do all the work leading up to the Melbourne Cup without a problem.
“It’s going to be hard for that to happen again and the likelihood is that he won’t have a trouble-free preparation.”
Prince Of Penzance has had one run since winning the Melbourne Cup and with Payne on board ran a great second to stablemate Tonopah in the Group 3 $150,000 Robert & Fay Gerard R A Lee Stakes (1600m) at Morphettville on May 21.