Promising NZ gelding to step out at Valley

Tuesday 3 June 2014, 4:39pm

Injury and a lack of prize money ended feature race hopes for promising New Zealand three-year-old Allez Eagle this season.

While trainer Tony Pike has taken a small team to Brisbane for big race assignments at the winter carnival, the lightly-raced Allez Eagle is instead getting ready to make his Australian debut at Moonee Valley on Saturday.

"What he's done at home so far has been exceptional," Pike said of the winner of three of his four starts.

"He won his first start very well then he got injured when he was gallops on in a stakes race and we had to give him a fair bit of time off and do a little operation.

"So he basically missed his whole three-year-old season which was a shame.

"He has come back well and has been pretty impressive in his past two starts at home."

Allez Eagle runs in the 1200m 3YO Handicap on Saturday with Pike looking at a three-start winter campaign in Melbourne.

He said he had considered a Brisbane preparation but Allez Eagle did not have enough prize money to get into the better-class races for three-year-olds.

Pike has instead opted for Melbourne and expects Allez Eagle to make his presence felt if he brings his New Zealand form.

"He's still quite new and he's still got plenty to learn," Pike said.

"He gets a bit hot at the races and can still over-race from time to time.

"But just the raw ability is definitely there. He's pretty impressive sort of horse."

Steven Arnold partnered Allez Eagle in trackwork on Tuesday and has the ride on Saturday.

Pike has Sacred Star and Rock Diva nominated to run in Saturday's Stradbroke Handicap and Queensland Derby respectively, while Allez Eagle will be joined at Moonee Valley by stablemate Popeye Braggins who will run over 1500m.

The five-year-old won over 1400m at Trentham and Te Rapa in March and April before finishing fourth in an open handicap over the same distance at Te Rapa last start.

"He's a horse that is eventually looking for 2000 metres," Pike said.

"The 1500 might be a touch short for him on Saturday but it looks like a nice starting point."

– AAP

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