Trainer Tony McEvoy is confident that Alpine Eagle is fit enough to win the 2015 Penny Edition Stakes at Morphettville on Saturday.
Alpine Eagle has not been seen at the races since he finished second behind Wandjina in the Group 1 Australian Guineas (1600m) at Flemington on March 7 and he had a good blow after he finished second behind stablemate Éclair Choice in a barrier trial over 1000 metres at Morphettville on August 7, but McEvoy remains optimistic that the High Chaparral entire can make a winning start to his 2015 Spring Racing Carnival campaign.
“He is happy in himself and he has done very well,” McEvoy told Racing Ahead.
“I couldn’t be more pleased with him going into the week.
“He is fit enough to win and I would need him to run a very good race with the plans that we have got going forward with him.
“1400 is not his trip, but he still has quite a bit of freshness in him and I think that he will run a very competitive race.”
Alpine Eagle has not shown a great deal of early speed throughout his racing career to date, but he was able to produce an explosive turn-of-foot after being settled in the second half of the field in both the Group 2 Autumn Classic (1800m) at Caulfield on February 28 and the Australian Guineas.
McEvoy said that he will not give jockey Matthew Nielson any firm instructions ahead of the Penny Edition Stakes, but he expects the talented hoop to settle Alpine Eagle where he is comfortable to give him the opportunity to finish over the top of his rivals.
“I think so where we are heading, but I will leave that up to Matt Nielson,” McEvoy said.
“I haven’t had much of a chance to look at the speed map just yet and we will have a close look at that, but the most important thing is that we will ride him where he is comfortable and look for him to unleash that finish that he has got.”
Alpine Eagle is set to head to Melbourne for the Group 1 Makybe Diva Stakes (1600m) at Flemington on September 12 if he performs well in the Penny Edition Stakes and he will continue on a Cox Plate path if he is competitive at weight-for-age level.
Alpine Eagle is currently available at 2015 Penny Edition Stakes odds of $1.75 and he is a clear favourite from Riziz ($4.40), Go Indy Go ($7.50) and Dylanson ($9).