Premiership winning trainer Darren Weir’s Melbourne Cup hopeful Signoff is on track to make his 2016 Melbourne Spring Carnival debut in the Group 1 $500,000 Makybe Diva Stakes (1600m) at Flemington on September 10.
Signoff will be making his first appearance since winning the Group 3 $120,000 James Boag’s Premium Lord Reims Stakes (2600m) at Morphettville on March 5 and Weir told RSN’s Racing Ahead that the seven year old gelding is shaping up very nicely.
“Signoff is pretty good, but he is still big in condition,” Weir said.
“He had a trial at Camperdown on Monday and he will have another trial next week and he will be getting pretty close to kicking off.”
Weir said at this stage Signoff should be ready to resume in the weight for age Makybe Diva Stakes, but also added that here could be a chance he might step out earlier at Moonee Valley in a 1500m Handicap.
“Maybe the Makybe Diva and there is a 1500m the week before that we might look at as well,” Weir said.
Jockey Harry Coffey rode Signoff in his Lord Reims Stakes win and prominent owner Gerry Ryan said the talented young rider would be kept on Signoff for his Melbourne Cup campaign.
“Harry’s on, he’s planted firmly on the horse. That would be a great story,” Ryan told racing.com’s Racing Ahead on RSN 927.
“He’s a quality young man, looking forward to him getting his first Melbourne Cup.”
“I spoke to him (Coffey) a few days ago after he rode the horse, and he gave me an update.”
“I’m looking forward to seeing Harry in the mounting yard on the first Tuesday in November.”
Signoff ran fourth behind Protectionist in the 2014 Group 1 $6m Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m) at Flemington on the first Tuesday In November after winning the Group 3 $300,000 Lexus Stakes (2500m) at Flemington three days earlier.
The seven year old has been lightly raced since injuring a tendon in the Melbourne Cup and has only been to races four times since, including when he was disqualified after behind first past the post in the 2015 Listed $120,000 Lord Stakes (1700m) at Caulfield on December 26.
Signoff had been treated with Ibuprofen to help with the recovery of a tendon injury suffered when fourth to Protectionist in the 2014 Melbourne Cup and it was subsequently discovered that the drug stays in the horse’s system longer that originally thought.
Signoff was then off the scene again for another eight weeks before running second to Swacadelic in the Listed $150,000 Sporting Chance Cancer Foundatio0n Torney Night Cup (2500m) at Moonee Valley on February 19 with Coffey back in the saddle.
In early Melbourne Cup betting at Ladbrokes.com.au Signoff is listed at $17 while the Aidan O’Brien trained Order Of St George sits at the top of the market order at $11.
Signoff is likely to clash with Weir’s 2015 Melbourne Cup winner Prince Of Penzance in this year’s ‘Race That Stops A Nation’ and is currently listed as a $31 chance to retain the trophy.