While a host of stars will step out in the Warwick Stakes in Sydney another big-race hopeful will begin his campaign in a weight-for-age event in Adelaide.
Trainer Tony McEvoy is looking forward to Alpine Eagle’s return in Saturday’s Listed Penny Edition Stakes (1400m) at Morphettville.
Meanwhile in Sydney, nominations for the Group Two Warwick Stakes feature 13 Group One winners.
Alpine Eagle won the Group Two Autumn Classic (1800m) during his three-year-old campaign and backed up a week later to finish second to Wandjina in the Group One Australian Guineas (1600m).
McEvoy decided on the Adelaide option over the P B Lawrence Stakes at Caulfield won by Mourinho on Saturday after Alpine Eagle finished second in a recent 1000m trial, 6-1/2 lengths behind Eclair Choice.
“The Lawrence was going to be the race but he just pulled up a little bit fat after his trial,” McEvoy said.
“I wasn’t quite happy with his fitness so that’s why I’ve elected to give him a little bit more work and head towards the Penny Edition.”
The plan is for Alpine Eagle to return to the scene of his Australian Guineas placing in the Group One Makybe Diva Stakes at Flemington second-up.
Alpine Eagle is at $17 in the TAB’s Cox Plate market and $21 for the Caulfield Cup.
McEvoy said the Cox Plate would be the aim if the horse’s weight-for-age form was good enough in the lead-up to the $3 million race.
“If I think he’s struggling at the weight-for-age he can switch to the handicaps and go to the Caulfield Cup,” the trainer said.
Matthew Neilson will ride Alpine Eagle in the Penny Edition which has 13 nominations and there’s likely to be plenty of attention on Alpine Eagle’s return.
“He’s on everyone’s lips, so I’m just hoping that he can come back and confirm all that,” McEvoy said.
“They’ve got to take a big step going from their protected three-year-old days to the open grade. So let’s hope he’s good enough to do it.”
McEvoy says Alpine Eagle has done everything he’s asked of him so far.
“I’m been very pleased with him so I’m looking forward to it. I’m hopeful that he can take the step up,” he said.
Article from justhorseracing.com.au