Forward Melbourne Cup Field Position For Signoff

Signoff has snuck into the 2014 Melbourne Cup field with just 51 kilograms and trainer Darren Weir expects that jockey Joao Moreira will attempt to take advantage of the light weight by pressing forward on the progressing stayer in the early stages of the Group 1 event at Flemington on Saturday.

Signoff secured a place in the Melbourne Cup field by winning the Lexus Stakes in impressive fashion. Photo by: Sarah Ebbett

Signoff secured a place in the Melbourne Cup field by winning the Lexus Stakes in impressive fashion. Photo by: Sarah Ebbett

Signoff has shown plenty of tactical versatility during his racing career to date, but he was settled in a lovely position just behind the leading group in the Group 3 Lexus Stakes (2500m) at Flemington on Saturday before finishing over the top of his rivals in the final stages of the race.

Weir told Racing Ahead this morning that he had yet to discuss tactics with Moreira, but he expects the leading hoop to put Signoff into the race in the early stages of the Melbourne Cup.

“I would have thought that you wouldn’t be going back,” Weir said.

“I would be rolling forward to be in the first half a dozen hopefully, but until I talk to those people I’m not sure really.”

2013 Lexus Stakes winner Ruscello went on to finish at the tail of the Melbourne Cup field last year, but the likes of Shocking (first in 2009), Maluckyday (second in 2010), Niwot (sixth in 2011) and Kelinni (fourth in 2012) have all performed well in ‘the race that stops a nation’ after taking out the Lexus Stakes.

Weir believes that Signoff has come through his Lexus Stakes victory without any issues and he is confident that the comfortable win was the ideal lead-up for the Melbourne Cup.

“I thought that he had an ideal run for Tuesday; it wasn’t hard and it was a good effort from the horse,” Weir said.

“He left about half a dipper on Saturday night, which is not unusual after the run and the big trip back to Warrnambool, and he ate up well last night.

“He went to the beach yesterday and today and he seems pretty bright and well.

“There is no reason why he shouldn’t be running.”

Signoff wore blinkers for the first time in the Lexus Stakes and Weir confirmed that he will not be making any gear changes to the Authorized gelding in the lead-up to the Melbourne Cup.

Weir said that applying blinkers to Signoff had always been on the agenda and he elected to make the gear change after jockeys Ben Melham and Glen Boss suggested blinkers would help the four-year-old after they rode him in the Group 3 JRA Cup (2040m) and Group 3 David Jones Cup (2000m) respectively.

“When Benny Melham rode him at the Valley in the JRA he said ‘gee this horse needs blinkers’ and our main track rider has always said that we should put blinkers on him,” Weir said.

“When Glen rode him last start the first thing that he said when he got off was that he needed blinkers, so we just thought the timing was right.

“We needed him to improve two or three lengths to be competitive in that race on Saturday and I thought that worked really well.”

Signoff is currently available at 2014 Melbourne Cup odds of $7.50 and he is on the second line of betting along with Lucia Valentina ($7.50) and Protectionist ($7.50).

About The Author

Thomas Hackett

Thomas is a passionate and opinionated racing journalist and punter who has been obsessed with horse racing since he backed Saintly to win the 1996 Melbourne Cup. An international racing enthusiast, he has his finger on the pulse of racing news not just from Australia but all around the world.