‘Dream come true’: Gator snaps up Guineas
DAVID Vandyke declared the world was his star three-year-old gelding Alligator Blood's oyster after he demolished his rivals to win the Australian Guineas (1600m) at Flemington.
Firstly, though, is an appointment with the worlds' richest 1600m, the All-Star Mile at Caulfield on March 14.
Alligator Blood is now a $3 favourite to follow in the footsteps set by Mystic Journey last year and complete the Australian Guineas and All-Star Mile double after his breathtaking performance on Saturday.
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Vandyke said all Alligator Blood had to do was please him to run in the $5 million All-Star Mile. The victory was Alligator Blood's first Group 1 victory and also his jockey Ryan Maloney's first at that level. The gelding has now won 10 of his 11 starts.
The pair were grabbed on the line by Super Seth in the Caulfield Guineas in October, the only time Alligator Blood as been beaten.
The Australian Guineas was billed as a match race with New Zealand star Catalyst but, in contrast to the C.S Hayes Stakes, he left the Kiwi in his wake. Catalyst weakened to finish sixth.
Vandyke said Alligator Blood continued to astound him with his capabilities.
"That win has given me the confidence that I can take on any race at any time with him," Vandyke said. "He's a superstar. He's tenacious, he's resilient, he never gives up. He deserves this. It's a dream come true.
"He's been up since last May, with the longest break nine days. He's had a race or trial every month since July last year and he's got the audacity to put in career best performance with that drawn out preparation.
"He just continues to astound me. I don't know where or what his ceiling is."
Maloney described Alligator Blood as a once-in-a-lifetime horse. He said he had to use his brains to kick up in the early stages of the race.
"The rest was up to him," Maloney said. "I knew Catalyst and Alabama Express were behind me and they would benefit from what was going on but there was no way I was letting Commodus cross us. He got softened up and he was dominant."
Maloney, 34, said he couldn't believe how his career had panned out since he left Victoria in the middle of 2018. "It just shows what can happen when you don't give up," he said.
Alligator Blood's owner Allan Endresz said the horse was the people's horse and they were just the custodians of him.
Jockey Damian Lane said the race shape panned out terribly for Catalyst.
"We ended up in a sticky spot and he then raced greenly," Lane said. "He didn't lengthen like I thought he would without a horse to chase close by him.
"Maybe he needs the blinkers back on."
"AB, are you number one?" ☝️— Racing.com (@Racing) February 29, 2020
Alligator Blood... 🐊 pic.twitter.com/Es5KBumWW3
Alligator Blood ($2.70 fav) defeated Superstorm ($10) by a 1¼ lengths, with Soul Patch ($20) a half length away third.
Willie Pike was thrilled with the run of second placegetter Superstorm and said he had never been so happy to finish second in a race.
Craig Williams, who rode Soul Patch into third, said it was a great run and that he was looking for 2000m. Damien Oliver said Chenier ran a big race to finish fourth as he was flattened early in the race