Queenslanders love a good horse, as we saw with Mossman’s son Buffering, and they’ve got right behind Alligator Blood in voting for the $5 million All-Star Mile at Caulfield on March 14.
Alligator Blood is the Sunshine State’s latest cult-hero and he’s the horse to beat after a soul-stirring victory in the C S Hayes Stakes Gr.3 at Flemington on Saturday. He eye-balled Catalyst (NZ) and was courage personified when the Kiwi colt blinked in the closing stages.
It signalled a box-office windfall for Flemington and Caulfield when they clash again in the Australian Guineas Gr.1 on February 29 and the All-Star Mile a fortnight later.
“Al” was polling more than any other horse for the All-Star Mile when the leaderboard black-out was enforced last Friday, February 14. Queenslanders would have led the stampede to put their horse further ahead on the weekend before voting closed on Sunday night.
Trainer David Vandyke gave Alligator Blood a heart-warming hug in the enclosure on Saturday while his partner and stable foreperson Emma Lehmann was elated holding Al ahead of the presentation.
“That’s his best performance,” Vandyke ventured after watching the race that’s destined to ignite more than one showdown between the top 3yo colts and geldings this autumn. “They were going stride for stride and he showed class getting the edge.
“That’s what it’s all about. That race will go down in history. The Queenslander gets up off the canvas and comes back and does it. I looked up at the sectionals and they were rolling before the corner. I thought ‘Gee Whiz, he’s going to have to be pretty good’.
“We’re looking forward to the Australian Guineas. It’s going to be a wonderful contest.
“I moved to the Sunshine Coast from Sydney in 2016 and was ready for semi-retirement. I wasn’t expecting to have an Alligator Blood walk in the stable but to train one of the best three-year-olds in Australasia is a great honour.”
With Super Seth and Alabama Express both doubtful for the Australian Guineas, TAB markets have Alligator Blood and Catalyst clear-cut $2.60 equal favourites.
Vinery Champion All Too Hard sired Alligator Blood from Baramul Stud mare Lake Superior (Encosta De Lago). She’s closely related to 2010 Australian Horse of the Year Typhoon Tracy (Red Ransom).
There are 11 yearlings by All Too Hard entered for the Inglis Melbourne Premier Sale starting on Sunday week, March 1. One of the standouts at Oaklands is Lot 339, his chestnut half-brother to Bonvicini who won Saturday’s Vanity Stakes Gr.3 a couple of hours after the heroics in the C S Hayes.
He’s being sold by Vinery (as agent), as is Lot 265, the All Too Hard filly who is the first foal of Darci Brahma mare Leotie. She won at Caulfield a was a Group 3 runner-up behind I Am A Star in the 2016 Quezette Stakes.