Alligator Blood’s growing popularity is evidenced by his lead in the voting for the All-Star Mile and his trainer David Vandyke says it is a privilege to have the budding star in his care.
The winner of eight of his nine starts, Alligator Blood is back in Melbourne for a three-run campaign beginning in Saturday’s Group Three C S Hayes Stakes (1400m) at Flemington.
After Saturday, he will run in the $1 million Group One Australian Guineas (1600m) two weeks later and the $5 million All-Star Mile.
Alligator Blood, who won the $2 million Magic Millions Guineas last month, is more than 4000 votes ahead of any other horse in polling for the All-Star Mile in which 10 of the 15 spots in the race are determined by the public.
Vandyke, who trained Group One winner Yankee Rose, says it is a dream to have a horse capable of competing in those races while the gelding also means so much to his owners who knocked back big offers for him.
“When I moved to the Sunshine Coast from Sydney in 2016 I was ready for semi-retirement. I wasn’t expecting to have an Alligator Blood walk in the stable,” Vandyke said.
“But to be a provincial trainer in Queensland and train one of the best three-year-olds in Australasia is a great honour.
“For me the pressure is off a lot because he won the Magic Millions. He’s won $2.1 million.
“There’s natural pressure. I’m a very passionate person and I try very hard to get him to the races in the best shape possible for each event, so that creates its own pressure.
“But as far as the horse performing, in my mind he’s done a fantastic job if he never had another start.”
Vandyke is delighted how Alligator Blood has settled into Melbourne and the feedback from his jockey Ryan Maloney has been glowing.
“Ryan rode him in his gallop on Tuesday and that was an excellent piece of work and this morning Ryan said ‘I can’t believe how well he feels’,” Vandyke said.
“So that’s a good enough rap for me.”
Alligator Blood was the $2.15 favourite on Thursday ahead of New Zealand star Catalyst ($2.50) and Vandyke knows he will give his all.
He says it is a tricky race with only seven runners and with the likely leader Big Parade scratched, Alligator Blood may find himself leading.
“Is he going to be too good? Well, it’s going to be a wonderful contest,” Vandyke said.
“Dalasan, what a great horse. He had his excuses in the Caulfield Guineas Prelude and indeed the Caulfield Guineas.
“And Catalyst, how can we say anything except positive comments about Catalyst. It was a fantastic win at Ellerslie recently.
“It’s going to be a great contest. We could finish third and Al could still be putting in his best performance.”