Thirteen time Hong Kong championship winning hoop Douglas Whyte has been confirmed to ride the Tony McEvoy-trained Alpine Eagle in Saturdays Australian Guineas 2015 at Flemington Racecourse.
Untapped High Chaparral colt from Adelaide Alpine Eagle currently occupies the second line of the all-in markets at Ladbrokes.com.au for this weekend’s $500,000 Group 1 Australian Guineas (1600m) making him a prized mount for the travelling Whyte.
The current Australian Guineas odds are lead by the Chris Waller-trained Kermadec at $3.80 after the Teofilo colt ran third to Hallowed Crown in the Group 2 Hobartville Stakes (1400m) at Rosehill second-up on February 21.
From five career starts Waller’s up-and-comer has had just the one Melbourne run when winning the Group 3 Carbine Club Stakes (1600m) at Flemington on Derby Day last November.
Kermadec is also nominated for the $600,000 Group 1 Royal Randwick Guineas (1600m) in Sydney on Saturday and pays $5.50 to win in markets led by Hallowed Crown ($2.80), Shooting To Win ($3) and Sweynesse ($3.80).
Alpine Eagle meanwhile pays $6 to win the Australian Guineas, the lightly-raced youngster after his fifth win at start number six and looking more and more likely like lining up in the classic.
“It’s looking likely,” McEvoy told Racing Ahead on Tuesday morning.
“I’ve just got to Flemington now and he really seems to be up on his toes and stimulated by being there and certainly showing no ill effects from his run on the weekend.”
Alpine Eagle has been defeated just once before when a first-up third at Hawkesbury last August.
Since then however he’s won three on the trot including the Group 2 Autumn Classic (1800m) only last Saturday at Caulfield giving him just a week between runs going into the Australian Guineas for his Flemington debut.
In the Autumn Classic where he had only a nose to spare over Minnesinger, Alpine Eagle was ridden by Damien Oliver.
For his first foray into Group 1 racing however Whyte jumps aboard, the champion Hong Kong-based South African rider to save the day should connections accept with the likes of Oliver already committed to other horses in the Australian Guineas.
“He’s a world champion and a 13-time winner of the championship in Hong Kong, which some would say is the pinnacle of world racing up there, so it’s very exciting for me to have a guy like him willing to come and ride him,” McEvoy said.
“Because of the late decision, the jockeys that I use in Melbourne were all booked to ride.
“There were a few of them that would have loved to have ridden him, but they were committed to their decision, as they should be, so it just left me at a bit of a loose end.
“There were a few jockeys here that wanted to ride, very good jockeys, but they just don’t do a lot of riding for me. So I discussed it with the owners and we decided that we would look outside the square.
“Douglas was very excited about getting the ride. When we rang him he was straight on the front foot and got straight in touch with the club to see if he could gain permission to come and ride here because he has to be back to ride in Hong Kong on Sunday.
“His willingness and keenness to ride the horse was a great tonic for me.”
The 2015 Australian Guineas field and barriers are out on Wednesday making now the time to sign-up with Ladbrokes.com.au and get ready to back your favourite three-year-olds in this weekend’s feature.