The Tony McEvoy-trained Big Memory has booked a ticket into the Caulfield Cup with victory in the Herbert Power Stakes at Caulfield.
But the stayer had to survive a protest from Glen Boss who rode runner-up Signoff.
Big Memory ($6) defeated favourite Signoff ($4.20) by a long neck in the Group Two race which carries with it a Caulfield Cup ballot exemption to the winner.
Ridden by Tommy Berry, Big Memory made his move inside Bonfire turning for home but an incident at that point of the race prompted Boss to fire in a protest.
Boss said Berry shifted out on the turn on to Bonfire who then bumped his horse causing him to lose momentum.
He also claimed Berry drifted out over the final 50m as Signoff got to within a long neck.
Stewards said Boss had been inconvenienced at the top of the straight but were not satisfied it had cost Signoff the race.
McEvoy, who was in Sydney, said the intention was to run Big Memory in next Saturday’s $3 million Caulfield Cup.
“If he pulls up well he goes to the Caulfield Cup,” the trainer said.
McEvoy said he was concerned to see Big Memory lay out off the rail.
“He has never done it before but he has come a long way and is a very good stayer,” he said.
Let’s Make Adeal looked a challenger in the straight but peaked on her run to finish another head away third while German stayer Protectionist, who carried topweight with 59kg and has the Melbourne Cup as his target, delighted jockey Craig Williams with the way he ran on for fourth.
“The way he closed off, I was very impressed with his run,” Williams said.