June 30, 2015 2:57pmLINCOLN MOORE — The Advertiser
TONY McEvoy is eyeing a second Cox Plate with exciting South Australian galloper Alpine Eagle.
The Wolf Blass-owned three-year-old is progressing well at McEvoy’s Angaston base and Australia’s premier weight-for age feature remains his long-term spring target.
“A gut feel, but the Cox Plate is a race I’d like to get him to,’’ McEvoy, who trained Field Of Omagh to win the 2003 Cox Plate, said on Melbourne radio.
McEvoy said Alpine Eagle, who is give weeks into his spring preparation, had shown encouraging signs after a successful campaign when he won the Autumn Classic at Caulfield before being narrowly beaten in the Group 1 Australian Guineas behind Wandjina.
McEvoy said the most pleasing aspect of his time in the paddock was that Alpine Eagle had put on plenty of condition ahead of what looms as big preparation for the potential star.
“He put on 45kg in the paddock and he’s put another 11kg on in his first five weeks of his training,’’ he said.
“That really gives me a lot of confidence the horse has come back better.
“He’s always had a tremendous frame but didn’t have a lot of flesh on the frame.
“He’s really thickened up, but there’s more to come and he’ll handle a really strong campaign this spring.’’
While McEvoy said he was yet to decide just where Alpine Eagle would return to racing, he was given a small insight into what’s in store when the horse was let stride in trackwork for the first time since returning to work.
“I haven’t put any pressure on the horse yet,’’ McEvoy said.
“He’s had one small conditioning gallop and just towed the jockey up the hill like a horse with class.’’
While McEvoy is hoping to again be a major player during the Melbourne spring, he’s also set to play a hand in the upcoming Darwin Cup carnival.
Lightly raced three-year-old Affendi was an impressive winner at his first start on the dirt there on June 20 and McEvoy is setting the horse for a string of NT features.
“He’s there for the Guineas, the Derby and the Cup,’’ he said.
“He’d only been in the territory for seven days and all the locals were saying you need longer than that to settle in and that they rarely win at their first time on the dirt
“He jumped both of those hurdles very well.’’