The 2015 Australian Guineas remains an option for talented colt Alpine Eagle after he flew home late to record a thrilling win in the 2015 Autumn Classic at Caulfield this afternoon.
Alpine Eagle was very well-backed in the lead-up to the Autumn Classic, but he never looked comfortable in the run and was under heavy riding from Damien Oliver at the 600 metre mark.
Firehouse Rock and Minnesinger looked as though they were going to fight out the finish, but Alpine Eagle picked up impressively when he balanced up at the 200 metre mark and he caught Minnesinger in the shadows of the post to record a memorable Autumn Classic win.
Trainer Tony McEvoy has always had a high opinion of Alpine Eagle and was thrilled with his performance in the Autumn Classic this afternoon, but he said that the son of High Chaparral was no certainty to back-up in the Australian Guineas next weekend and could be set for the Group 1 South Australian Derby (2400m).
“He really excited me,” McEvoy said.
“He looked in a lot of trouble wobbling around here and he did it a little bit at Morphettville last time.
“He is still coming and for him to pick that up and win was incredible.
“He is still in the Guineas and we will just let the dust settle.
“He will probably go home for a freshen-up and we will go towards the South Australian Derby and that is favourite at the moment, but if the horse bounces out of this he is still in next Saturday.
“He is still a work in progress.”
Jockey Damien Oliver admitted after the race that he was a little bit worried at the 600 metre mark and he said that the three-year-old did not have a great deal of luck coming around the turn.
The leading hoop said that he was thrilled with the way that Alpine Eagle hit the line in the Autumn Classic and he feels that the colt still has a great deal of improvement in front of him.
“He took a bit of riding and he is still pretty raw this horse, but he has unlimited potential,” Oliver said.
“I had to come around a couple of tiring horses on the turn and I just lost a bit of ground and the second horse was able to sneak through on the inside.
“He has done a good job to pick-up the one that shot away because he was probably standing it up a good eight lengths.
“He is still learning and he can only get better.”
Alpine Eagle has now recorded four wins from his five race starts and has now earnt over a $100,000 in prizemoney for prominent owner Wolf Blass.