Prince Of Penzance has been friendless in 2015 Melbourne Cup betting markets, but jockey Michelle Payne is confident that the talented stayer can run a cheeky race in the $6 million event tomorrow afternoon.
Payne has ridden Prince Of Penzance in all but one of his race starts since he made his racing debut with a win at Stawell in March of 2013 and Payne told Racing Ahead this morning that she has been keen to partner the Pentire gelding since he scored a very tough win in the Green Fields Handicap (2000m) at Flemington over two years ago.
“I’ve always thought that he had a bit of x-factor about him,” Payne said.
“The first time I really saw it was when he won as a three-year-old at Flemington and since then he has improved.
“Obviously it is everybody’s dream and it has been my dream to ride this horse for the two years since he won at Flemington.
“It is just quite incredible that we have got there, got the light weight and got the gate.
“It is such an exciting time.
“He has had a fair bit of troubles along the way, but every time he has come back he has improved and he is better than he has ever been.”
Prince Of Penzance started his 2015 Spring Racing Carnival campaign with a fast-finishing eighth in the Group 1 Memsie Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield on August 29 and he only battled in the Gold Nugget (1600m) at Ballarat on September 20, Group 3 JRA Cup (2040m) at Moonee Valley on October 2 and the Group 2 Herbert Power Stakes (2400m) at Caulfield on October 10.
The six-year-old returned to his best form when he finished a very tough second behind The United States (2500m) in the Group 2 Moonee Valley Cup (2500m) on October 24 and she believes that the hit-out was the perfect lead-up run for the 2015 Melbourne Cup.
“It was a really good performance,” Payne said.
“I asked Darren Weir if I could lead the race and he said no, but if it ended up I didn’t have to do too much work to get there he was happy for me to work it out and as it turned out I gave him a squeeze out and he was able to amble across pretty easily, so I elected to take it up.
“I always thought that he would relax beautifully in front and he got into a bit of a rhythm, but it was just a bit of a shame that Gai’s horse came up and put the pressure on him at the 1200.
“Had that not happened it might have been a different story in the finish and he would have won the race, but he had a good hit-out for the two miles and he has come out of the run exceptionally well.
“I galloped him on Friday and I couldn’t be happier with him.
“He had a great fitness run and he is ready to go.
“I really feel that he will be strong over two miles.”
Prince Of Penzance is currently available at 2015 Melbourne Cup odds of $101 with Ladbrokes and he is the extreme outsider of the field along with Sertorius ($101).
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