Vandyke rewarded for work with Alligator

Anyone who doubts Caloundra trainer David Vandyke has a magic touch with troublesome horses needs only turn the clock back five months.

Vandyke will saddle Alligator Blood on Saturday as the short priced favourite in the $2 million Magic Millions Guineas at the Gold Coast.

Alligator Blood has been so dominant against the summer three-year-olds he looks set to start the fourth shortest favourite in any Magic Millions race behind champion Buffering ($1.35) in the 2016 Plate, 2016 2YO Classic winner Capitalist ($1.40) and Winning Rupert ($1.65), unplaced in the 2017 Guineas.

It is a long way from last August when Vandyke took Alligator Blood to Sydney for the Ming Dynasty Quality at Randwick.

Vandyke had been saying for months Alligator Blood was a stakes horse if he could overcome his headstrong nature.

Unfortunately, Alligator Blood decided to display the worst of his temperament and went into a complete meltdown in his race day stall forcing his late scratching and a trip back to Queensland.

Many trainers would have sent Alligator Blood for a spell or given up altogether but not Vandyke, who has earned kudos for his work with troubled horses such as Group One winner Yankee Rose.

"We had already gelded him early but he was still a free spirit," Vandyke said.

He tried a tactic of working closely with Alligator Blood to get him relaxed and enjoying his racing.

Gradually it worked and Alligator Blood has won four races and finished a nose second in the Group One Caulfield Guineas in his five starts since the Randwick fiasco to take his overall record to seven wins from eight starts.

"He has been better than he has ever been and he is settling in his races," Vandyke said.

"He has worked well and the barrier (11) is no worry on Saturday."

Provided all goes well on Saturday, Alligator Blood will be on a path to the Group One Australian Guineas (1600m) at Flemington on February 29.

The trainer hopes he can then gain a berth in the $5 million All-Star Mile (1600m) at Caulfield two weeks later for which his Caulfield Guineas conqueror Super Seth is also nominated.

The Anthony Freedman-trained Super Seth nabbed Alligator Blood on the line in the Caulfield Guineas with the two horses wide apart on the track.

Caulfield Guineas runner-up Alligator Blood has shown he is on course for a big summer with his best trial performance yet.
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