Yet to ensure a place in the Race That Stops a Nation, trainer Darren Weir is confident classy stayer Signoff is capable of winning Saturday’s Group 3 Lexus Stakes (2500m) and gain a berth in the 2014 Melbourne Cup at Flemington on Tuesday.
Claiming six wins and three minor places from his 12 competitive starts so far, Signoff has found strong form over his two most recent starts; finishing second to Big Memory in the Group 2 Herbert Power Stakes (2400m) on October 11th before running a close third in the Group 3 David Jones Cup (2000m) on October 18th, but has not done enough to gain a definite position in the 2014 Melbourne Cup field.
Allocated the ideal barrier 3 for the Lexus Stakes, Weir told Racing Ahead he is confident the addition of blinkers and confirmation leading Hong Kong-based jockey Joao Moreira will take the ride will mean the difference in success and progression to the Melbourne Cup for the Authorized gelding.
“He has drawn well, he is very fit and well and he has had a great preparation,” Weir said.
“Glen (Boss) got off him last start and suggested he needed blinkers and Johnny Allan who rides a lot of work for us here has been saying that for a quiet a while and we thought this was a good time to put them on.
“I would have thought that he would be in the first four or five.
“It would be pretty hard not to (back-up in the Melbourne Cup), but we will just see how the horses pulls up and all those sorts of things.
“We will just get through Saturday first and worry about Tuesday when that comes.”
Finishing tenth in the Wedrive Plate (2400m) first-up on August 30th, Signoff ran a close third amongst classy competition in the Spring Is The Season Handicap (1700m) on September 13th before a luckless run for ninth in the Group 3 JRA Cup (2040m) on September 26th, in what was his only other start prior to the Herbert Power Stakes.
Clear favourite for success in the Lexus Stakes betting markets at a quote of $2.80, Signoff has received notable attention in Melbourne Cup markets at Ladbrokes.com.au this week, cutting in to odds of $17 for success.
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