The Adelaide Cup is no longer a Group One race but it is still an important stepping stone for Australia’s stayers.
One of a handful of 3200m races left on the calendar, the Group Two event on Monday will determine the Sydney Cup path for several runners including the Tony McEvoy-trainer Big Memory.
McEvoy is following the growing trend of sourcing stayers from overseas with Big Memory his Cup hope and Le Roi making his return in a support race on the Morphettville program.
Big Memory failed to live up to expectations at his first two Australian starts but, after being gelded, he has shown his true ability with two wins and three seconds from five starts this preparation.
He stepped up to stakes company to record a short head second to Travolta in the Listed Australia Day Cup (2400m) at Randwick then powered home to win the Listed Night Cup (2500m) at Moonee Valley.
“You never know whether they will get 3200 metres until you give them a go but the way he has performed at his past two starts makes me think he will get the trip,” McEvoy said.
“He has the depth of pedigree to say he will.”
Like many of his Adelaide Cup rivals, Big Memory is entered for the Group One Sydney Cup in April.
“If he bounces through the race at the top of his game we will consider it. Otherwise I will put him out and wait for the spring.”
Le Roi, another French import, makes his long awaited return from injury in the CS Hayes Memorial Cup (1600m) at the feature meeting.
“I’m really excited to see him back,” McEvoy said.
“He bowed a tendon in the BMW last year and has had 11 months rehabilitation.”
Big Memory is being shaded for favouritism by the Robert Smerdon-trained Cooldini, a last-start winner of the Listed Roy Higgins (2600m) at Flemington.
Craig Williams rides Big Memory while Glen Boss will be aboard Cooldini.