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Adelaide horseman Tony McEvoy is confident the Flemington track will suit his progressive stallion Alpine Eagle when the Group 1 placed galloper runs in Saturday’s Makybe Diva Stakes 2015.
Nominated for a host of Spring majors in both Sydney and Melbourne this season, High Chaparral four-year-old Alpine Eagle runs second-up this weekend in the $400,000 Group 1 Makybe Diva Stakes (1600m).
The mile feature comes after the horse returned to racing on August 22 back home at Morphettville Parks with a good second to Riziz in the Listed Penny Edition Stakes (1400m), an effort McEvoy was impressed by and is confident his galloper has improved since.
“I thought the run was full of merit and he has come right on from it,” he told Racenet this week.
“I’m extremely pleased with him.
“He’s done a couple of pieces of strong work since and keeps improving.”
The up-and-comer has won four of his seven starts to date including the Group 2 Autumn Classic (1800m) at Caulfield in late February.
Next run he was second past the post when just a neck off the Gai Waterhouse-trained winner Wandjina in the Group 1 Australian Guineas (1600m) at the same track and distance he will run over if he makes the Makybe Diva Stakes field.
The weight-for-age classic attracted 22 nominations and with a field capacity of only 16 starters, Alpine Eagle sitting 19th on the order of entry is sweating on a start.
As a back-up McEvoy also nominated him for the $90,000 Spring is the Season Handicap (1700m) where a total of 43 stayers make up the entries.
“The Makybe Diva is the race we want to run in however I felt it was a good idea to have a back-up which is why I entered him in the 1700 metre race,” McEvoy said.
If he makes the cut, McEvoy is confident Alpine Eagle can be competitive in the Group 1 having run well against a hot field featuring the likes of Memsie Stakes winner last start Boban and current 2015 Caulfield Cup co-favourite Mongolian Khan.
“It’s the next level for him now as an older horse but one I think he will get to,” he said.
“The Makybe Diva looks a deep race but we’ve trained him for it, he’s ready for the extra distance and Flemington will suit.
“With normal luck in running I think he’ll be very competitive.”
Matthew Neilson had the ride on Alpine Eagle first-up in Adelaide but ace hoop Mark Zahra is booked for the Makybe Diva Stakes, a race he’s had three previous rides in for one third place finish.
The Makybe Diva Stakes 2015 field and barriers are out on Wednesday morning so stay tuned.
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