Trainer Tony McEvoy is leaving nothing to chance with Alpine Eagle ahead of Saturday’s meeting at Flemington.McEvoy wants to run the four-year-old in the Group I Makybe Diva Stakes but took the precaution of nominating in the open 1700m handicap in case Alpine Eagle failed to make the final field of 16 for the weight-for-age 1600m contest.
“The Makybe Diva is the race we want to run in however I felt it was a good idea to have a back-up which is why I entered him in the 1700 metre race,” McEvoy said.
Alpine Eagle resumed in the Listed Penny Edition Stakes over 1400m on the Morphettville Parks track on August 22, making up several lengths in the final 200m to finish second, beaten 1 1/4-lengths.
“I thought the run was full of merit and he has come right on from it,” McEvoy said. “I’m extremely pleased with him.
“He’s done a couple of pieces of strong work since and keeps improving.”
Alpine Eagle is yet to miss a place in his seven starts, his best win the Group II Autumn Classic over 1800m at Caulfield in February.
His only attempt at Group I level was over 1600m at Flemington in March where he was narrowly beaten by Wandjina in the Australian Guineas and McEvoy is keen to test the son of High Chaparral at the highest level again.
“It’s the next level for him now as an older horse but one I think he will get to,” McEvoy said.
“The Makybe Diva looks a deep race but we’ve trained him for it, he’s ready for the extra distance and Flemington will suit.
“With normal luck in running I think he’ll be very competitive.”
Mark Zahra has been engaged to ride Alpine Eagle in the Makybe Diva Stakes.