Prince Of Penzance produced an impressive staying effort to win last year’s edition of the Group 2 Moonee Valley Cup (2500m), and jockey Michelle Payne is confident she can help guide the gelding to a successful defence of his crown on Saturday.
Posting six wins and a further seven minors through a total of 22 competitive starts so far, Prince Of Penzance returned this time for a credible eighth in the Group 1 Memsie Stakes (1400m) on August 29th; progressing to fifth in each of the Gold Nugget Handicap (1600m) and Group 3 JRA Cup (2040m).
Jumping from the gates well in the Group 2 Herbert Power Stakes (2400m) last time out on October 10th, Prince Of Penzance received a great run in transit and loomed rounding onto the final straight but was unable to produce anything of a kick, finishing a disappointing eighth.
Payne revealed the Pentire gelding had pulled up sore following his lacklustre run in the Herbert Power Stakes, but has been pleased with the feel offered up by the six-year-old in work and is confident he is ready for a big performance in the 2015 Moonee Valley Cup.
“He was a bit disappointing last time but he had a lot of weight and I felt he didn’t come out of the barriers that well and he pulled up with a little bit of soreness in behind,” Payne told AAP.
“So they’ve been working on him and hopefully they’ve got him right and he’s got the blinkers back on and it seems to be what he needs now he’s getting older.
“He raced well in them last time and I’m hoping he can bounce back.”
Prince Of Penzance has been a strong and consistent performer for trainer Darren Weir through his entire racing career to date but arguably found peak condition during the 2014 edition of the Spring Carnival.
Running second in the Moe Cup (2050m), Prince Of Penzance delivered a talented field a near two length defeat in the Moonee Valley Gold Cup before running second in the Group 3 Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2600m) and third in the Group 2 Zipping Classic (2400m).
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