Australian Guineas runner up Alpine Eagle will be nominated for the Cox Plate and the Caulfield Cup during the 2015 Melbourne Spring Carnival.
Trainer Tony McEvoy is confident that Alpine Eagle will take the next step and measure up to Spring Carnival Group 1 level but won’t find out until well into his Spring preparation if he will be better suited over the 2040m of the Group 1 $3m Cox Plate at Moonee Valley or if he will be tested over the longer 2400m of the Group 1 $3m Caulfield Cup at Caulfield.
“I haven’t quite sorted his preparation out but his goals will be Cox Plate or Caulfield Cup,” McEvoy told AAP.
“I’ll make the decision when I start galloping him to see how much sharper he is this time.”
“But I’m hoping as a four-year-old, now that he gets it (mentally), he might come back and be a bit sharper. But 2000 to 2400, that’ll be his range.”
McEvoy sent Alpine Eagle straight to the paddock following his second to Wandjina in the Group 1 $500,000 Australian Guineas (1600m) at Flemington on March 7 and is more than pleased with the way the three year old had spelled prior to kicking off his preparation for the new racing season in the Spring.
“He put on 45 kilos in his spell and they don’t do that if they don’t have long enough, so that tells me it was the spell he needed and I’m very pleased with him,” McEvoy said.
“He’s been back in about three or four weeks, so he’s just having a nice steady prep and we’ll get him to the races in late August.”
Alpine Eagle showed plenty of ability leading into the Autumn Carnival and worked his way up through the classes with two wins at Morphettville in a 1400m BenchMark 70 Handicap and in a 1600m three year old Handicap in late January and early February.
McEvoy then headed to Melbourne with the High Chaparral colt and took out the Group 2 $200,000 Race-Tech Australia Caulfield Autumn Classic (1800m) at Caulfield on February 28 before going down narrowly to the Gai Waterhouse trained Wandjina in the Australian Guineas.
The form out of the Australian Guineas looks set to be strong with fourth placegetter Kermadec going on to beat the older horses in the Group 1 $3m The Star 150th Doncaster Mile (1600m) at Randwick on April 6.
While Australian Guineas winner Wandjina was beaten narrowly by Dissident in the Group 1 $400,000 Schweppes All Aged Stakes (1400m) at Randwick on April 18 and will line up in the Group 1 £525,000 The Diamond Jubilee Stakes (6 furlongs) at Royal Ascot on Saturday.
Alpine Eagle has never been out of the placings from his six race starts with four wins, a second and a third and has collected $266,800 in prizemoney for his connections.
In early Cox Plate markets with Ladbrokes.com.au Alpine Eagle is marked at $15 while in Caulfield Cup betting he is rated a $17 chance.