Tony McEvoy has made a gear change that he hopes can spark a return to the winner’s circle for Alpine Eagle when he tackles Group One company at Flemington.
The son of High Chaparral will be wearing a nose roll when he contests Saturday’s Makybe Diva Stakes (1600m), a race in which he has been one of the best supported runners, firming from $9 to $6.50.
“I just want to try and get his head to come down,” McEvoy said.
“He’s done a lot of work with the nose roll on and it seems to help.”
A winner of four of his seven starts, Alpine Eagle stamped his class in the autumn winning a Group Two race at Caulfield before backing up a week later for a narrow second to Wandjina in the Australian Guineas at Flemington.
He made his seasonal return in Adelaide where he finished second in the Penny Edition Stakes (1400m) at Morphettville on August 22.
McEvoy said Alpine Eagle had enjoyed a perfect campaign and had ticked all the boxes since his first-up defeat.
“I wasn’t disappointed in the run but it was a shame that he was beaten,” McEvoy said.
“That’s been the only blemish in the lead-up.”
McEvoy said the horse’s performance in the Makybe Diva would determine whether Alpine Eagle headed towards the Cox Plate or was extended out in trip to the 2400m of the Caulfield Cup.