Allez Eagle the real deal

Allez Eagle sent the TAB Fixed Odds bookmakers scurrying to rearrange their markets for the Gr. 1 $400,000 Sothy’s NZ 2000 Guineas at Riccarton next month when winning on debut at Te Rapa today.

Allez Eagle opened at $18 on Fixed Odds betting for the feature and was down to $12 by race-morning. However, after watching the win in the Rogerson Plumbing 1200 the bookmakers reacted quickly, quashing his price to $5, making his favourite for the classic over Cosmic Cube ($6).

A son of Guillotine, Allez Eagle started as second favourite after two trials win, including an impressive four and a half-length victory at Cambridge on September 1, and he. proved too strong, beating the pacemaker A’Larose by a length and a half with the favourite, the previously unbeaten Cosmic Cube, a head back in third spot.

Co-trainer Tony Pike was able to breathe a sigh of relief after Allez Eagle lived up to a huge reputation. Pike, who trains in partnership with Mark Donoghue, has had his share of exciting gallopers, including last season’s New Zealand 2000 Guineas winner Sacred Falls, but he felt more pressure going into today’s race with Allez Eagle.

“I’ve never been this nervous lining a horse up,” said Pike midweek. “I think he’s special but we’ve got to throw him in the deep end against Cosmic Cube. We did have him entered for Te Aroha last week, but we didn’t want to risk him on the wet track.”

Allez Eagle didn’t have it all his own way in the Rogerson Plumbing 1200 after beginning well to settle third on the other behind A’Larose. With no real pace on in the early stages, when restrained by rider Leith Innes he started to throw his head about as Cosmic Cube kicked up to leave him in fourth spot on the outer.

“He was quite green off the bridle. It’s the first time he’d been off the bridle,” said Pike. “I thought they’d go quicker early than they did. He probably got shuffled up a bit and got racing a bit green but he got the job done.

“It was a pretty smart field today. He was very green in the run and wanted to lay in a bit. He’ll take a huge amount of improvement out of it. It’s onwards and upwards from here.”

Pike will see how Allez Eagle comes through today’s race before deciding whether to use the Gr. 3 James and Annie Sarten Memorial at Te Rapa on October 28 or the Gr. 2 Wellington Guineas at Trentham two days earlier as the 2000 Guineas’ lead-up.

“I’d like to separate Sacred Park and him,” said Pike. Sacred Park boosted his 2000 Guineas prospects when winning the Bonecrusher Stakes at Ellerslie last Saturday.

Allez Eagle has been the subject of some big offers since showing up at the trials and no doubt further offers will come as a result of today’s win. He is owned by Australian Colin Keane, who lives in Gosford and races horses in Singapore and Macau as well as Australia and now New Zealand.

Pike bought Allez Eagle for Keene for $50,000 from the 2012 Select Sale at Karaka and he also purchased Vinnie Eagle, a debut winner at Ruakaka last month, for Keane from the Inglis Classic Yearling Sale, for A$65,000.