DUO: Michelle Payne and Prince of Penzance are set for Tuesday’s Melbourne Cup. Picture: Getty Images.
DARREN Weir believes a good barrier draw is crucial to Prince of Penzance’s chances in Tuesday’s Melbourne Cup, 3200m.
The Ballarat trainer told The Courier an inside gate was vital if the horse was to run a forward race in the $6.2 million feature.
“For him to be a top 10 chance, he needs to draw inside barrier 10,” Weir said.
“We are happy with the order of him and we’re thinking we are a realistic top 10 chance if we can draw a barrier.
“It certainly won’t stop us from running if we draw a wide barrier, but it will make us a better chance if we drew in.”
Weir admitted it was hard to see the $81 chance on the TAB winning the race, but admitted he had enjoyed a good campaign.
“I couldn’t see him winning it, but I could see him running top 10. It’s $100,000 to run top 10,” he said.
With a number of runners being ruled out of the race in recent weeks, Prince of Penzance is now assured of a Melbourne Cup start, where he will be ridden by regular jockey Michelle Payne.
Payne has been with the horse in 22 of his 23 starts and all six of his career wins.
“She has done all the work on the horse and she gets on well with it so I’m more than happy to have her on,” Weir said.
Payne put Prince of Penzance – who ran second in last weekend’s Moonee Valley Cup – through his final piece of work on Friday.
“Dandino and Prince of Penzance galloped a lap from winning post to winning post at Terang and both horses worked really well,” Weir said.
“That’s (Prince’s) final hit out. He will go to the sand dunes on Sunday and that’s it.”
Weir has two other Melbourne Cup hopefuls and will know their fate when the field is confirmed on Saturday evening.
Dandino is just outside the 24-horse cut off and requires a couple of scratchings above him, while stablemate Zanteca must win Saturday’s Lexus Stakes to find her way into the field.
Weir has had four previous runners in the race that stops a nation, with Signoff placing fourth last year.
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