Leading Hong Kong-based hoop Douglas Whyte is set to ride Alpine Eagle if he takes his place in the 2015 Australian Guineas at Flemington on Saturday.
Alpine Eagle started his autumn campaign with two straight win in Adelaide and started the Group 2 Autumn Classic (1800m) at Caulfield last weekend as a clear favourite, but he looked in big trouble at the 200 metre mark before he savaged the line to record a narrow win from Minnesinger and Firehouse Rock.
Trainer Tony McEvoy revealed after the race that Alpine Eagle was unlikely to back-up in the Group 1 Australian Guineas (1600m), but the High Chaparral colt has thrived coming out of the race and is likely to make his Group 1 debut this weekend.
McEvoy told Racing Ahead this morning that most of the leading hoops in Melbourne had already been booked to take rides in the Australian Guineas and he was forced to look a little bit wider to find a top jockey for the three-year-old this weekend.
“He’s a world champion and a 13-time winner of the championship in Hong Kong, which some would say is the pinnacle of world racing up there, so it’s very exciting for me to have a guy like him willing to come and ride him,” McEvoy said.
“Because of the late decision, the jockeys that I use in Melbourne were all booked to ride.
“There were a few of them that would have loved to have ridden him, but they were committed to their decision, as they should be, so it just left me at a bit of a loose end.
“There were a few jockeys here that wanted to ride, very good jockeys, but they just don’t do a lot of riding for me, so I discussed it with the owners and we decided that we would look outside the square.
“Douglas was very excited about getting the ride; when we rang him he was straight on the front foot and got straight in touch with the club to see if he could gain permission to come and ride here because he has to be back to ride in Hong Kong on Sunday.
“His willingness and keenness to ride the horse was a great tonic for me.”
McEvoy is chasing his first win in the Australian Guineas after finishing second with Neptune’s Journey in 2001, while Whyte has the chance to record his second Group 1 in Australia after he won the Kingston Town Classic in Perth with Moriarty last year.
Alpine Eagle is currently available at 2015 Australian Guineas odds of $6 with Ladbrokes and is on the second line of betting behind Kermadec ($3.80).