Alligator Blood gets early Caulfield look

Queensland trainer David Vandyke is banking on an early morning trip to Caulfield to have a calming effect on Alligator Blood ahead of his Melbourne debut.

Unbeaten in four starts in Queensland, Alligator Blood is set to run in the Caulfield Guineas Prelude on Sunday and was afforded an early look at the track and surrounds on Tuesday morning.

A previous trip away from home resulted in Alligator Blood being a late scratching from the Ming Dynasty Quality at Rosehill on August 31 after becoming agitated in the race day stalls.

Vandyke returned Alligator Blood to his Sunshine Coast stable and the three-year-old won on his home track on September 15.

Tuesday’s visit to Caulfield provided Vandyke the opportunity to give Alligator Blood a look at the race day stalls, pre-parade ring and importantly the track which has not always proven a happy hunting ground for Queensland and NSW horses in their first starts on the circuit.

Vandyke said the three-quarter pace gallop was Alligator Blood’s most serious piece of work left-handed.

“It was his first time here and he seemed a bit lost so I certainly wouldn’t want to be coming here on Sunday for the first time,” Vandyke said.

“We’re under no illusion. It’s a big step up and Caulfield can be a tricky track for first timers, so we’ve got an open mind, but he certainly deserves his place in the field.

“If he was taking on this grade in Queensland I’d be a bit more confident, but we’re away from home turf and hopefully he does us proud.

“Hopefully we draw a good barrier, but I think he can be competitive.”

Vandyke said Alligator Blood had continually snuck under the radar with the trainer yet to know where the ceiling is with the gelding.

“Every hurdle we’ve put in front of him he’s leapt and he really deserves a crack at the big time and that’s what we’re here for,” Vandyke said.

Former Victorian jockey Ryan Maloney, now based on the Gold Coast, returns to Caulfield on Sunday for the ride on Alligator Blood.

No easy options for Flight in Brisbane

David Vandyke admits he was stuck between a rock and a hard place trying to determine which race dual acceptor Constant Flight should contest at Doomben.

Running in Saturday's open handicap would have meant a clash with the smart Meet Mr Taylor, while tackling the Membership at BRC Class 6 Plate (1110m) involved taking on stakes-performed Jonker.

In the end, a kinder barrier draw in the latter swayed Vandyke's decision, but he admitted the five-year-old faced a tough task to maintain his unbeaten record this campaign.

"Obviously there were good horses in each of those races. It was either Meet Mr Taylor, who was very impressive last start, or Jonker who is proven to be a serious Group horse," Vandyke said.

"But we had to go one way or the other so it did come down to the barrier but I'm under no illusions, Jonker will be very hard to beat.

"But my horse is very fit, he's won at the track, he's drawn inside the danger and he's got the speed to use his good gate so he will be in it for a long way."

Constant Flight has established a handy record, winning six of his 11 starts and is $5 second pick in early TAB fixed odds markets behind Jonker, the $1.85 favourite to win his Doomben debut.

Jonker is clearly the class galloper in Saturday's race having finished runner-up to Everest contender Classique Legend at Group Two level during the Sydney autumn carnival and again being placed in black-type grade behind I Am Excited and Redzel in the Victory Stakes at Eagle Farm in April.

The Kelly Schweida-trained Meet Mr Taylor is also in the red for his assignment, although he will need to overcome the outside barrier to remain unbeaten this preparation.

Vandyke will not be trackside at Doomben having travelled to Melbourne with undefeated three-year-old Alligator Blood who will test his carnival credentials in Sunday's Group Three Caulfield Guineas Prelude (1400m).

Alligator Blood missed a scheduled start in Sydney when he was a late scratching from the Ming Dynasty Quality last month after playing up in the race day stalls but Vandyke said the horse had coped well with the trip to Melbourne.

The gelding had his first look at Caulfield earlier this week and while Vandyke was not rapt with his gallop, the trainer felt he would benefit from it.

"His work on Tuesday at Caulfield was only ordinary but he came through it well and it was his first time around Caulfield," Vandyke said.

"He just got a bit lost and I'm hoping that experience will be good for him, plus he had ear muffs on which probably didn't help.

"I think if he handles Caulfield he's going to fit right up there and I'd be disappointed if he doesn't finish top three on Sunday."

Baccarat Baby earns G1 Melbourne campaign

Baccarat Baby booked a ticket to Melbourne for the spring carnival after her first-up win in the Gallopers Sports Club Handicap at Eagle Farm.

Trainer David Vandyke said the $1 million Group One Empire Rose Stakes (1600m) for fillies and mares at Flemington on Derby Day will be her ultimate aim.

"She was on trial today for a trip down south and she's certainly earned it with that win," Vandyke said.

"I ran her in the Flight Stakes just over a year ago and she acquitted herself well. She was unlucky there and was only beaten three quarters of a length and that's when we knew we had a serious Group horse on our hands.


"She should relish the 1600 metres at Flemington."

Vandyke rated Baccarat Baby "90 per cent" fit going into Saturday's 1200m assignment.

"It was a very tradesman-like performance. She had good cover, she was behind the two leaders and when she had that cosy run I expected her to do what she did," he said.

Winning jockey Michael Hellyear is eager to maintain his association with Baccarat Baby having ridden the mare in 14 of her 16 starts for seven wins.

"I think I've already booked my ticket so hopefully David doesn't make me cancel the flight," Hellyer said.

Baccarat Baby ($3.20) settled in third spot on the fence before Hellyer brought her with a well-timed finish in the straight to win by a long neck from Deploy ($4.20) with the $2.30 favourite Scallopini a neck away third.

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