Last week’s Caulfield Autumn Classic winner Alpine Eagle remains firm in the betting for the Group 1 $500,000 Australian Guineas (1600m) at Flemington on Saturday.
Trainer Tony McEvoy has reported that Alpine Eagle has come through his spectacular win in the Group 2 $200,000 Race-Tech Australia Caulfield Autumn Classic (1800m) at Caulfield last Saturday in fine order and is ready to step up to Group 1 company.
Alpine Eagle is on the second line of betting for the Australian Guineas at $6 with Ladbtokes.com.au behind the Chris Waller trained Kermadec who heads the market order at $3.40.
The Gai Waterhouse trained Wandjina and Darren Weir’s Stratum share the next line of betting at $8.50.
The drop back to 1600m at Flemington this weekend from 1800m isn’t a concern for McEvoy who said he would not have considered it if he had to return to Caulfield this week.
“If the race was at Caulfield I wouldn’t be considering it,” McEvoy told the Sportsman.
“The big spaces at Flemington gives him his chance to get into his rhythm and on the turns at Flemington he will still be on the bit, whereas at Caulfield he would be off it.”
“I’m hopeful the horse is up to it. I’ve got a lot of time for him and he showed on Saturday that he’s a talented horse.”
Top Hong Kong based jockey Douglas Whyte takes over from the suspended Damien Oliver and McEvoy explains that he was forced to look abroad for a suitable rider because by the time he had decided to back up the three year old this week all the top line riders had been booked.
“Because of the late decision and all the jockeys that I usually use in Melbourne were booked, I was forced to look outside the square a little bit and luckily Douglas was available,” McEvoy said.
Alpine Eagle’s win in the Autumn Classic took his record to four wins from five starts and lifted his prizemoney tally to $176,800.
The High Chaparral colt had a relatively easy week on the tracks with his only piece of fast work being on Thursday morning when he completed even time (15 secs per 200m) over 1000m at Flemington.
Flemington trackman Warren Huntly reported in his Sportsman column that Alpine Eagle looked in great order at the track this week.
“He has been given a quiet week following that victory and was only asked to cruise over 1000m in even time on Thursday morning,” Huntly wrote.
“The son of High Chaparral adds an intriguing dimension to the Australian Guineas and looks to have come through last week’s run in great order.”
Kermadec was scratched from the Group 1 $600,000 Girvan Waugh Randwick Guineas (1600m) at Randwick, also on Saturday, to run in the Australian Guineas.