The Darren Weir trained Signoff has confirmed his credentials for the Group 2 $400,000 Adelaide Cup (3200m) with a runaway win in the Group 3 $120,000 James Boag’s Premium Lord Reims Stakes (2600m) at Morphettville last Saturday.
Signoff will return to Morphettville next Monday for the 3200m test after completely dominating his rivals as the $1.40 favourite with a six and a half lengths win over $151 chance Celtic Prince.
The six year old gelding’s Adelaide Cup preparation had been thrown into turmoil after testing positive to the drug ibuprofen following his first up win in the Listed $120,000 Lord Stakes (1700m) at Caulfield on Boxing Day.
Signoff had been treated with the non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug ibuprofen for a leg injury in the months leading up to his return to the races and Weir had the six year old tested prior to the Lord Stakes with the results coming back negative.
But the drug was detected in post race swabs forcing Weir to scratch Signoff from the $90,000 Piping Lane Handicap (2000m) at Flemington on January 16, to avoid another positive reading even though the treatment had been stopped.
Weir had then continually tested Signoff for the presence of the drug and decided to get his Adelaide Cup program back on track when recent tests came back negative.
The Melbourne Cup winning trainer said that the quick turn around of heading back to Morphettville from his Ballarat base in nine days won’t be a problem for Signoff.
“Won’t be a problem for Signoff – it’d do him good,” Weir told racing.com.
Signoff is the nominal favourite for the Adelaide Cup but could be challenged by stablemate Real Love who was back in the winner’s stall when she beat Dandy Gent and Black Jag in the Listed $120,000 3AW Roy Higgins Quality (2600m) at Flemington last Saturday and will now head to Adelaide for the Cup.
“They’ve both been aimed at the (Adelaide Cup), so hopefully we’ll get two (good chances) in it,” Weir said.
Real Love was the winner of the 2015 Group 2 $500,000 Golden River Developments Perth Cup (2400m) at Ascot and was having her third run for the Weir stable at Flemington last Saturday.
“Each run she’s progressed really well, she’s come on at home with her training as well and got a lovely ride from Brad (Rawiller),” Weir said.
“At the furlong I thought the other horse (Dandy Gent) was going to run past her but she toughed it out really well.”
“I would think that would have her spot on for Adelaide. The two mile won’t be a problem the way she ran through the line there.”
Weir was keen to keep his two Adelaide Cup hopes apart before they clash next Monday and was happy with the way things have worked out.
“The beauty about today is no trip to Adelaide (for Real Love),” Weir said.
“That’s the key, that was the deciding factor … a trip to Adelaide now and then home for six days and then back for another trip to Adelaide – it’s hard enough on a mare.”
Signoff, who ran fourth to Protectionist in the 2014 Group 1 $6m Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m) at Flemington, has been allocated 59kg top weight for the Adelaide Cup while proven two miler Real Love received 55.5kg.
Final acceptances for the Adelaide Cup will be taken on Wednesday, March 9, 2016, at 9am local time.