The Darren Weir-trained Signoff will have a very light autumn campaign next year, making only a few “cameo” appearances in a bid to be fighting fit for the spring where the four-year-old gelding will aim to win the $6.2 million Group 1 Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m), which he finished a commendable fourth in this year.
Signoff has won half of his 14 career starts and owner Gerry Ryan would love to add the 2015 Melbourne Cup to that list.
After a successful yet grueling spring campaign, Signoff has been having a much-needed spell and is not set to return to Weir’s stables until the start of the New Year. The gelding will then prepare for a light autumn before concentrating on the spring.
“We’re not sure what we’re going to do with him, but it will only be a very light campaign,” Weir told TVN.
Signoff excelled in all three of his 2014 Melbourne Cup lead-in races during the spring. The gelding finished runner-up in the Group 2 Herbert Power Stakes (2400m) on October 11 despite being inconvenienced near the 400m mark. He then scored a minor placing in the Group 3 David Jones Cup (2000m) later that month before winning the Group 3 Lexus Stakes (2500m) just three days prior to the Melbourne Cup, which cemented his place in the final field for the ‘race that stops the nation’.
Despite the quick back-up, Signoff had a lovely run but just couldn’t keep up with winner Protectionist. It’s safe to say that his connections would rather a less risky lead-up for next year’s event.
Stable mate Puissance de Lune has also returned to work after he was last seen finishing fourth in the Group 1 Turnbull Stakes (2000m) on October 4. The six-year-old entire was badly jarred up following the race and had to miss the remainder of the spring.
To prevent it happening again, the French import will travel to Brisbane during the winter carnival to run on more forgiving ground. Weir touted the $500,000 Group 1 Doomben Cup (2000m) as a possible start for the Group 1 Makybe Diva Stakes (1600m) third placer.
“He’ll head towards Brisbane, where the tracks are softer, for something like the Doomben Cup,” Weir said.