Alligator mauls rivals in Guineas
A delighted trainer David Vandyke admitted to some concerns early in the race when the maiden galloper Commodus came around and sat outside Alligator Blood.
“I’ve got goosebumps talking about the horse,” he began.
“He was softened up at certain stages of the race. Turning into the straight, there was a line of four and I thought ‘Gee whizz, he’s going to have to be good’, and as he quickened, he just exploded. You could see his stride change. He was just dominant.
“I know it’s a long straight at Flemington but gee whizz, I was going the early crow.
“He’s astounded me every start. He just keeps lifting. Where is the ceiling to him?”
Starting the $2.70 favourite, Alligator Blood had a length and a quarter margin over the Perth horse Superstorm ($10) who just edged out Soul Patch ($20).
For former Melbourne-based jockey Ryan Maloney, the win washed away any of the effects a four-month ban in 2018 had on the rider.
“Just 18 months ago, I had the worst day at the races I’ve ever had in my life and today’s I’ve had the best one so it just goes to show don’t ever give up when you are down and out because you never know where it could lead you,” Maloney said. “Just keep turning up and getting the job done.
“What a way to do it, being back at home at headquarters.”
WATCH: Alligator Blood’s win
In April of 2018, Maloney was suspended for four months after testing positive to a banned stimulant, which was the spur for the Melbourne-based rider to pick up and relocate to Queensland to start afresh.
Alligator Blood’s owner Allan Endresz confirmed he had knocked back numerous offers for the horse and said the gelding’s future was as a racehorse in Australia.
Damian Lane said blinkers might need to go back on Catalyst after the Kiwi star failed to fire in the run home.
“The race turned out terrible for him,” Lane said. “The outsider (Commodus) going forward and really backing off the tempo outside the lead put us in a tricky spot.
“I had to let him stride in the race early. He just raced a little greenly. When I asked him and without a horse close to him to chase like last start, I feel he just didn’t lengthen as well.
“It could just be that he needs the blinkers back on.”
Chenier was involved in a scrimmage near the 900-metre mark where he nearly fell but he picked himself up and ran on strongly for fourth.
Alabama Express’ rider Michael Dee said: “He’s run too bad to be true. Maybe there’s an issue there. He felt OK but let’s just see what the vets come back with.”