Tough Sydney Cup a test for Big Memory

Tony McEvoy thinks Big Memory is “a group 1 horse” but doubts him in his goal for the autumn, the Sydney Cup at Randwick on Saturday.

“This is the race we have targeted but I don’t think I have seen a tougher Sydney Cup,” McEvoy said. “You have the Melbourne Cup winner [Protectionist] and the third placegetter [Who Shot Thebarman] and then there is a horse like Hartnell, which won the BMW and has got in very well at the weights. He looks a star. It makes it tough for my bloke, even though he is a very good stayer.”

Big Memory was part of a group of French imports McEvoy bought to Australia looking a top-class stayer and in the spring he showed he was up there with the best in this country.

He won the Herbert Power Handicap, was runner-up in the Lexus Stakes and third in the Queen Elizabeth Stakes, won by stablemate Le Roi, another of the foreign team.

“That was a good preparation and I thought he would come back a bit stronger, which he has,” McEvoy said. “The program we mapped out was to get to this race, thinking he would be well in at the weights, and it would give us a good guide for the rest of the year. I have been very happy with the preparation and he gets here at his peak but it is like a Melbourne Cup field.”

Big Memory has had a four-run campaign in Victoria with the only disappointment his effort in the Australian Cup where he got back, against his usual pattern, and could not make up ground.

He went to the Mornington Cup last time to try and get the exemption from the ballot for the Caulfield Cup, which comes with winning it. He went back to racing on the speed but got stuck three-wide outside the leader and was gunned down by Banca Mo in the final 100 metres when his tough run told.

McEvoy said the Sydney Cup would define where his career goes in the future.

“He is a group 1 horse, I’m sure of that. He is getting to test himself against the best stayers in the land on Saturday,” McEvoy said. “I have a couple of question marks on him at the two miles and at the class but he could be better. This will decide whether he is a Caulfield Cup or Melbourne Cup horse for the spring.”



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