It took about five minutes on Saturday for champion trainer Darren Weir to throw down the gauntlet to any potential Adelaide Cup rivals.
First, Weir’s promising stayer Cadillac Mountain staked his Cup claims when he was lipped out by the Tony McEvoy-trained Big Memory in the Roy Higgins Quality (2600m) at Flemington.
Then super-tough five-year-old Master Of Arts (Master of Arts x Petit Verdot) went one better, delivering a gritty performance to claim the traditional Cup lead-up race, the A$120,000 Gr.3 Lord Reims Stakes (2600m), at Morphettville.
It was Weir’s third straight success in the Lord Reims.
There was plenty of money to suggest Master Of Arts was ready to run a big race, the five-year-old supported from $3.20 to start the clear-cut $2.50 favourite despite finishing second-last in the Torney Cup at Moonee Valley a fortnight ago.
But Allen gave Master Of Arts a perfect, energy-conserving trip, settling around fifth on the rail then making the most of his staying prowess as he edged past a hugely brave Puccini ($41-$26) to win by a neck.
Weir’s stable spokesman Jarrod McLean said it was the ideal Cup trial for Master Of Arts.
“He can certainly stay, so that’s really important,” McLean said.
“We’ll see you back here on Monday week.”
The final field for the Adelaide Cup is drawn on Wednesday, with the first three placegetters in the Lord Reims exempt from the ballot and not liable for a re-handicap.
Master Of Arts, who is a graduate of Trelawney Stud’s 2013 Inglis Easter draft, will carry just 54kg in the Cup. -The Advertiser