After injury ruled out Tony McEvoy’s Angaston-based stallion Alpine Eagle from an extended spring campaign the Adelaide horseman is hoping to have the lightly raced four-year-old right in time for a Sydney Autumn Racing Carnival campaign next year.
McEvoy is keeping the options open with the improving son of High Chaparral who suffered a cracked pedal bone after his close sixth in a blanket finish when defeated just three quarters of a length by Fawkner in the Group 1 Makybe Diva Stakes (1600m) at Flemington on September 12.
A winner of four of his eight career starts to date Alpine Eagle has finished out of the money just once to date in the Makybe Diva, which was his second attempt in elite level company.
The first came in early March at Flemington when narrowly defeated a neck by the Gai Waterhouse-trained Wandjina in the Group 1 Australian Guineas (1600m) last Melbourne Festival of Racing.
The Australian Guineas performance followed on from his maiden black-type win when Alpine Eagle and jockey Damien Oliver combined to beat home Minnesinger by a short half-head in the Group 2 Autumn Classic (1800m) at Caulfield on February 28.
He looked on track for a big spring return after running second to Riziz at Morphettville Parks on August 22 in the Listed Penny Edition Stakes (1400m) back home as the beaten odds-on favourite but things went amiss.
Yet to live up to his full potential, the galloper is showing all the signs of making a full recovery from his fractured pedal bone that stopped him from competing in the Group 1 Turnbull Stakes (2000m) at Flemington on October 4 that was subsequently won by Chris Waller’s now Hong Kong-bound Preferment.
McEvoy visited Alpine Eagle in South Australia this week and told Racing Ahead on RSN he was 100% happy with the horse’s recovery to date.
“I saw him on Monday in the paddock and he’s really sound and not on any medication at all, or any pain relief,” he said.
“He’s in with three other horses in the paddock, him and Big Memory have palled up really well, they’re really good mates and they’re running around like two-year-olds.”
Ideally McEvoy would love to have Alpine Eagle back to full fitness in time for a raid on the Summer Autumn Carnival features possibly including the $3 million Group 1 Doncaster Mile (1600m) at Royal Randwick or even the lucrative $4 million Group 1 Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m).
Futures Queen Elizabeth Stakes betting for the 2016 edition is firmly led by Cox Plate winning mare Winx who is confirmed as targeting the race before a spring campaign aimed at back-to-back wins in Australasia’s weight-for-age championship at Moonee Valley.
Alpine Eagle meanwhile pays around $26 in those same all-in markets for Sydney’s richest autumn race through Ladbrokes.com.au.
If Alpine Eagle doesn’t come on in time for the autumn however McEvoy is happy to refocus on a trip to Queensland for the Brisbane Winter Racing Carnival a little later in the season.
A possible assignment in the Sunshine State for him is the $500,000 Group 1 Doomben Cup (2020m) in May, a race McEvoy is yet to saddle-up a starter in.
“If I walked you past his paddock today, you would say ‘get him into work today’ but with these things you’ve got to give them the time,” McEvoy explained.
“There was a fracture in his pedal bone and they take time, so we’ve got to give him that time.
“He might be able to come back into work at the end of December, which doesn’t completely rule out the autumn, but I’m not going to rush him just get him to the autumn.
“He’s too good a horse and I want to make sure we get it right.”