He may be a nine-year-old but Precedence is showing no signs he is looking for the retirement home as he takes aim at his third Moonee Valley Cup.
The winner of the race in 2010 and again last year, Precedence heads to the Group Two race on Saturday on the back of a close fifth behind Cox Plate runner The Cleaner in the JRA Cup.
For the first five years of his career, Precedence was trained by Bart Cummings who is now in partnership with his grandson James.
A win on Saturday would take his earnings past the $2 million mark.
Precedence races in the famous yellow with black and white checks of Malaysian businessman Dato Tan Chin Nam who has won three Melbourne Cups with Bart Cummings.
Duncan Ramage, who manages Dato Tan’s Australian interests, says there is no reason to doubt Precedence can defend his Moonee Valley Cup win of 12 months ago.
“He is in fine shape to defend his title,” Ramage said.
“He is nine but it is a testament to his fortitude that he is still racing as well as he is.
“He is sound and his last start effort shows how well he is going.”
Dato Tan races the Zabeel gelding in a partnership which includes Sir Patrick Hogan, the proprietor of Cambridge Stud, the home of Precedence’s sire Zabeel who was retired from active duty late last year.
Precedence was among 23 Moonee Valley Cup entries taken on Monday and will be the highest rated horse in the field with the expected withdrawals of Green Moon and Sea Moon who ran in Saturday’s Caulfield Cup.
Last year, Precedence missed a start in the 24-horse Melbourne Cup field by one spot.
He is at No.25 in the 2014 order of entry and looks safely in the field with the expected attrition rate.
“Should he gain a start in the Melbourne Cup, he will run,” Ramage said.
Bart Cummings has won a record 12 Melbourne Cup and Precedence is the only horse the stable entered for this year’s race.