Trainer Tony McEvoy has confirmed that Big Memory will follow a path to the 2015 Mornington Cup during the 2015 Melbourne Festival Of Racing.
Big Memory has not been seen at the races since he finished third behind stablemate Le Roi in the Group 3 Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2600m) at Flemington on November 8, but he could not have been more impressive when he worked home strongly to finish second behind Forever Loved in a barrier trial over 1200 metres at Royal Randwick yesterday.
McEvoy told Sky Racing HQ that he has been impressed with the sharpness of Big Memory since he began preparations for his autumn campaign and he said that he was thrilled to see the Duke Of Marmalade produce such a forward effort in yesterday’s barrier trial.
“It was really pleasing to see him come back like that,” McEvoy said.
“I have been super pleased with him at home and he has sort of been suggesting to me that he may have taken another step.
“The trial backed that up.
“He has been quiet sharp in his trackwork and is really in a good place at the moment.
“I was very pleased with him.”
Big Memory showed that he was capable of competing at the highest level of racing when he took out the Group 2 Herbert Power Stakes (2400m) and finished a credible tenth in the Group 1 Caulfield Cup (2400m) during the 2014 Spring Racing Carnival, but McEvoy is setting his sights slightly lower with the five-year-old during his autumn preparation.
The five-year-old will return to racing in the Group 3 Carlyon Cup (1600m) at Caulfield on February 14 and he will contest the Listed Mornington Cup Prelude (2000m) at Caulfield on February 28 before he steps back-up in trip for the Listed Mornington Cup (2400m) on March 28.
“He will just have one trial and I was quite pleased with his condition afterwards, so he will run first-up in the Carlyon Cup in Melbourne on the 14th,” McEvoy said.
“At this stage I am planning to give him three runs – the Carlyon Cup, the Mornington Cup Prelude and then the Mornington Cup.”
Big Memory will be set for a Group 1 Melbourne Cup (3200m) campaign during the 2015 Spring Racing Carnival after he narrowly missed out on a place in the 2014 edition of the race when he finished second behind Signoff in the Group 3 Lexus Stakes (2500m) at Flemington on Victoria Derby Day.