TONY McEVOY will use the Summer Cup as a springboard into next year for former French stayer Le Roi on Boxing Day.
The impressive four-year-old (to southern time) has put together a hat-trick of wins this preparation and the group 3 status at 2400 metres was the lure to bring him to Rosehill on Wednesday.
''It would get one of the important things out of the way [for the Caulfield and Melbourne cups], which is qualifying, and it is definitely one of the reasons we are coming,'' the South Australian horseman said. ''He has shown good staying ability, which is why we target this sort of horse but he is still only three. It is a test for him against these sort of horses but it is one worth taking.''
European-bred gallopers have dominated the staying scene, winning the past two Melbourne Cups and a raft of other features. To win a staying event in Australia, an international suffix has become almost essential.
''We got away from breeding stayers here in the past 20 years and they simply do it better than us,'' McEvoy said. ''You have to go over there to find a good stayer because our breeding industry is all about quick returns.
''You look at the horses we have brought, they have real depth to their pedigree, it goes back generation after generation with staying in their blood.''
Le Roi formed part of a $1 million package of four horses McEvoy and Wayne Mitchell bought from Europe that includes Sysmo, Mouro and Saint Desir.
Le Roi, which arrived after winning in a maiden in France, has clocked up three wins since in Australia, while Mouro has won twice and Sysmo once.
It suggests McEvoy and his team are finding the right types.
''We did our research for about a year because we are buying at the bottom to the middle of market,'' McEvoy said. ''We watch a lot of races from over there and have the horses we are looking for and then try to buy them. It helps that the economy is not the best and we have been relatively successful.''
McEvoy used an old method on Le Roi, which he learnt while under Colin Hayes's tutelage. Le Roi had one start when he arrived in April, an eye-catching fourth in Adelaide, before spelling and coming back for this preparation.
''It is a formula which has always worked well and seems to get the best out of them,'' McEvoy said. ''It gives them an experience and they seem to come back better horses in that second preparation.''
Le Roi returned in September and although he ran fifth was marked as one to follow by form experts. He won his next two in Adelaide over 1800m and 1950m before scoring a commanding win over 2000m at Caulfield on December 1, when he was able to settle closer.
''He had been getting run off his feet in the shorter races and charging home,'' McEvoy said. ''He was able to be a bit more handy last time and was very impressive.''
Le Roi was made a $2.90 favourite in early betting for the Summer Cup, ahead of the John O'Shea-trained Iggi Pop at $3.60, while Queensland visitor Poste Restante is a $4.20 hope.
McEvoy is worried about a lack pace in the small field. ''I think getting to 2400m will suit him even better but I just hope they don't go too slow,'' he said.