A Tuesday morning track gallop at Moonee Valley has trainer Tony McEvoy confident of the Turnbull Stakes chances for his Cox Plate 2015 bound galloper Alpine Eagle.
The High Chaparral four-year-old ran a midfield sixth when narrowly beaten by only three quarters of a length in a blanket finish at Flemington on September 12 behind the Robert Hickmott-trained Fawkner in the Group 1 Makybe Diva Stakes (1600m).
Instead of runner his progressive stayer again this weekend at Caulfield Racecourse in the $400,000 Group 1 Underwood Stakes (1800m) that has attracted the majority of the Makybe Diva graduates this Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival, McEvoy is saving Alpine Eagle for another week.
He is supremely confident of his up-and-comer’s condition though and is thrilled with how he pulled up post-Makybe Diva run.
“Tremendously,” McEvoy reported to Racing Victoria re: how the horse came through the Group 1.
“That was just second-up, I kept him pretty fresh for that race being still at a mile.
“He got close. So I can train him on now, which I have done. He’s thrived on it, I couldn’t be more pleased with how he’s done in the stable, and he looks a picture so I’m happy.”
A top three-year-old last season winning the Group 2 Autumn Classic (1800m) at Caulfield in late February before a brave second in the Group 1 Australian Guineas (1600m) in March, Alpine Eagle returned on August 22 at home at Morphettville Parks.
There he ran second just over a length off top seven-year-old local Riziz in the Listed Penny Edition Stakes (1400m) before returning to Melbourne for his second Group 1 run over the mile at Flemington in the Makybe Diva under weight-for-age conditions with Mark Zahra in the saddle.
McEvoy keeps the horse on the weight-for-age path this preparation with his next run scheduled for Flemington Sunday week, October 4, on the Grand Final long weekend in the $500,000 Group 1 Turnbull Stakes (2000m).
Of course the major aim is the $3 million Group 1 W.S. Cox Plate (2040m) at Moonee Valley on October 24 at a track Alpine Eagle did some solid work over on Tuesday in his first look at the tight circuit.
“When they’re by High Chaparral out of a Zabeel mare, they take a bit longer than the Redoute’s Choices – they’re quicker thinkers, they’re sharper horses,” McEvoy added.
“So he’s working it out. We’re at the top level now. And I think he’s doing a tremendous job. What you’ll see at four, you’ll see better at five.”
McEvoy also talked of plans for his The Metropolitan and Caulfield Cup nominated Big Memory who could run in either the $200,000 Group 3 JRA Cup (2040m) over the same track and distance as the Cox Plate on the Friday night before the Turnbull or the$200,000 Listed Cranbourne Cup (2025m) on October 11 should the former come too soon.
Futures Cox Plate odds at Ladbrokes.com.au are led by last weekend’s George Main Stakes winner Kermadec ($7) for Chris Waller while Alpine Eagle currently pays $17.
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