Trainer Tony McEvoy will push a Memsie Stakes 2016 kick-off for Alpine Eagle at the end of the month when he meets with the stayer’s owner Wolf Bass this week.
High Chaparral stallion Alpine Eagle enjoyed a winning 1400m trial at Tatura on Tuesday morning defeating fellow Spring Cups-bound Almoonqith in the heat.
The hit-out was the five-year-old’s first official appearance since his fifth behind Tonopah in the Group 3 RA Lee Stakes (1600m) at Morphettville on May 21, a race the reigning Melbourne Cup winner Prince Of Penzance ran second in.
A winner of four of his nine career starts to date, Alpine Eagle also ran second to Wandjina as a three-year-old in March last year at Flemington in the Group 1 Australian Guineas (1600m).
Last Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival he had his campaign cut short after a close sixth when beaten under a length in a blanket finish in the Group 1 Makybe Diva Stakes (1600m) behind Fawkner in September.
The horse cracked a pedal bone and was forced into a lengthy and ongoing rehabilitation program, but showed he was back on track with the successful trial.
“Since that cracked pedal bone my whole veterinary team and my staff have done a tremendous job to rehabilitate this horse to give him the confidence to stretch out,” McEvoy told Racing Victoria.
“It looks like it is totally behind him and I’m keen to get him to the races.”
McEvoy will now discuss first-up options for Alpine Eagle with Bass and hopes to convince the owner of a run in the $500,000 Group 1 Memsie Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield Racecourse Saturday week, August 27.
“His first-up run will be decided this week, I need to sit down with the owner Wolf Blass and decide on that, we have a couple of differing views as to where he should kick off,” McEvoy said.
“I am keen to get him going a bit earlier than Wolf, so we have got to nut that out probably over a nice bottle of red, if he picks the red I hope he is paying for it as well.
“I would like to kick him off on the 27th in the Memsie, it just gets us on the right leg going in to the spring.
“My experience over the time is coming in to the big time is that if you get behind with a little set back it is hard to play catch up.
“So I would like to get him racing and get him going and the Memsie is traditionally a good kick-off race for the spring horses.”
The Memsie Stakes is shaping up as a crack edition with the season’s opening elite level set to feature a host of Spring Cup hopefuls including the Trent Busuttin & Natalie Young-trained ATC Derby winner from April Tavago and the Darren Weir-trained Prince Of Penzance.
Alpine Eagle looks an ideal type for a shot at the $3 million Group 1 BMW Caulfield Cup (2400m) on October 15 according to McEvoy and currently pays $41 in futures markets at Ladbrokes.com.au for the mile and a half classic.
The galloper is at the same price in all-in betting for this November’s edition of the iconic $6.2 million Group 1 Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m) over the two miles at Flemington.
McEvoy has had five previous Caulfield Cup starters for just the one second place finish, while he has had the same number of stayers line-up in a Melbourne Cup field over the years without success.
The trainer also hasn’t ruled out a shot at the $3 million Group 1 W.S. Cox Plate (2040m) at Moonee Valley, the weight-for-age showdown held a week after the Caulfield Cup, for Alpine Eagle over the Cup races.
“I couldn’t be more pleased with him, he is continually telling me he is a high-class horse, I just want to kick him off and let him choose his path but the Cox Plate and Caulfield Cup are the two big tickets that first come to hand, I’m thinking more a mile-and-a-half this time for the horse but his form will determine that,” McEvoy added.
Cox Plate odds for October 15 are firmly led by Chris Waller’s defending champ Winx who resumes racing this Saturday in the Group 2 Warwick Stakes (1400m) at Royal Randwick.
Alpine Eagle meanwhile is a $41 chance in Cox Plate betting.
Check out the full Melbourne Cup and Caulfield Cup betting markets open right now online at Ladbrokes.com.au who are offering generous all-in odds for all the season’s upcoming Group 1 spring features.