Alligator Blood will embark on his final lead-up into next month’s $2 million Magic Millions 3YO Guineas (1400m) on the Gold Coast in Brisbane this weekend jumping odds-on favourite in Eagle Farm’s Group 3 $300,000 Magic Millions Vo Rogue Plate (1400m).
Prepared on the Sunshine Coast by David Vandyke, the ultra-consistent All Too Hard gelding lines-up for his eighth career start in the Vo Rogue Plate on Saturday chasing win number seven.
His sole loss came during the Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival when, backing-up off a win in the Prelude, the smart three-year-old finished a devastatingly close second behind Super Seth in the Group 1 $2 million Ladbrokes Caulfield Guineas (1600m).
Vandyke sent his stable star out for a brief spell following the Caulfield Guineas before bringing a less precocious Alligator Blood back to the races on December 14 at Eagle Farm.
The galloper was back in winning form first-up with a commanding two and a quarter-length victory in the Listed Gold Edition Plate (1200m) as the short-priced $1.45 favourite.
The bookies are taking absolutely no chances with Alligator Blood again as the Eagle Farm specialist, who Vandyke believes if maturing with each run, looks for his third win at the track in the Vo Rogue Plate.
Originally Vandyke was leaning towards keeping Alligator Blood fresh and taking him straight into the Magic Millions Guineas without another lead-up run after the Gold Edition Plate where the usually on-pace runner surprised many with a more relaxed run.
The cooler than expected conditions in Brisbane however have prompted Vandyke to give the horse another start before the big one on January 11.
“Early on in his career there were times when he just wanted to jump and run and he was using a bit of energy up with the way he did things,” Vandyke told Racenet this week.
“But I have noticed some changes in recent times, he is more relaxed now and he has lost some of that early precociousness.
“That is helping him relax better and perhaps be more versatile and it should certainly help him in the short-term.
“I also think it will prolong his longevity.
“Basically, he is making it easier for himself.
“It’s been a good thing for me to see.”
The latest Vo Rogue Plate markets at Ladbrokes.com.au list the Queenslander at $1.55 and firming.
The horse is also installed at a conservative quote of $2.10 in all-in markets on the 2020 Magic Millions 3YO Guineas.
Both Pierata (2017/18) and Boomsara (2018/19) won the Vo Rogue Plate – Magic Millions 3YO Guineas double with Alligator Blood tipped to do the same this Queensland Summer Racing Carnival.
Jockey Ryan Maloney retains the ride on the highly-spruiked fancy from barrier five facing 10 rivals in the Vo Rogue Plate field on Saturday.
The danger looking at the markets is the in-form Diamond Thunder for trainer of the moment Mark Newnham.
Dawn Approach gelding Diamond Thunder chases his sixth win from eight starts and his fourth on the trot.
He was last seen narrowly defeating Hightail in the $100,000 Wyong Magic Millions 3YO & 4YO Stakes (1200m) on December 12, form he will be out to frank this weekend at Eagle Farm.
Newnham remains wary of the hot favourite Alligator Blood on Saturday and is hoping his horse can take advantage of the inside barrier one draw to take up the lead and give the Caulfield Guineas runner-up something to chase to the line.
“I would think we would probably be ahead of Alligator Blood in the run,” Newnham said.
“It is my bloke’s first run at 1400 (metres) but he has led over shorter trips and I would say he will be forward of the other horse.
“The one thing about him is he is adaptable, he has led and won I think three times and he has sat off the pace and won a few times.
“He is adaptable to the pace of race and so from barrier one he has got options.”
The Vo Rogue Plate is scheduled to run as Eagle Farm Race 5 at 2:47pm (local time) on Saturday.