Herbert Power Stakes winner Shewan needs to overcome a 43-year drought to prove himself a Melbourne Cup contender and land the Moonee Valley Cup.
Six of the last 12 Moonee Valley Cup winners have contested the Herbert Power but Shewan would be the first to win both races since Impetus in 1968.
Impetus finished 16th in Rain Lover’s first of two Melbourne Cup wins in 1968 and Shewan needs to win the Moonee Valley Cup to be assured of a Cup start this year.
He is currently 44th in order of entry.
Trainer Robert Smerdon earmarked Shewan as a Melbourne Cup horse after he finished third to Guyno and Cedarberg in the Mornington Cup at only his 11th start in February.
He has won two of his four runs this campaign.
“We hoped for something like this,” Smerdon said.
“We turned him out after he ran third in the Mornington Cup with a view to giving him a good spring campaign basically to see how he measured up.
“So far he’s lived up to every hope and expectation.
“He’s got to stand up on Saturday and probably work his way into the Melbourne Cup but if he does he’ll earn the right.”
Chris Symons retains the ride on Shewan after winning the Group Two Herbert Power Stakes (2400m) on him at Caulfield, beating Tanby and Moyenne Corniche.
Tanby franked the form last Wednesday when he finished a gallant second to French stayer Dunaden in the Geelong Cup despite being diagnosed with mild colic after the race.
Shewan is $6.50 to win the Moonee Valley Cup with TAB Sportsbet but meets stiff opposition including Americain who is unbeaten in Australia after wins in last year’s Geelong and Melbourne Cups.
Americain is $3 favourite ahead of the Gai Waterhouse-trained Tullamore ($4) who is backing up after his third to Southern Speed in last Saturday’s Caulfield Cup.
Americain is again assured of a Melbourne Cup start while Bart Cummings will be keen to get a guide on his German import, Illo, who is having his first start for him the Moonee Valley Cup.
Illo is $8 to win on Saturday and 27th in order of entry for the Melbourne Cup while Tullamore is 35th.
Other Melbourne Cup contenders in the Moonee Valley Cup are Southern Speed’s stablemate Lalla Rookh (59th) and Anudjawun (60th) who are $19 and $26 on Saturday respectively.
Shewan’s stablemate Paddy O’Reilly ($17), who will be ridden by Caulfield and Geelong Cup-winning jockey Craig Williams, will also contest the Moonee Valley Cup.
He ran into form last start when second in the Cranbourne Cup but is not in the Melbourne Cup.
Injury woes have continued for the Lloyd Williams-owned, Robert Hickmott-trained Linton who on Friday was scratched from the Moonee Valley Cup after a nail pricked his hoof when he shifted his off-fore plate.
Linton ran in last year’s Melbourne Cup and is qualified to run again this year but hasn’t raced since pulling up lame in the off-foreleg following the Turnbull Stakes at Flemington on October 2.