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By Jeff Simpson with Graham Potter | Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Jeff Simpson is one of the owners of Alligator Blood. He spoke to HRO for the first time on September 15 after the All Too Hard gelding had secured his fourth win in a row at the Sunshine Coast and he has continued to give HRO readers regular behind the scenes insight into what it is like being one of the owners of racing’s rising stars. Here Jeff picks up the story after Alligator Blood's big win in the Magic Millions Guineas as the team plots the path ahead. This is Part 5 of an owner's back-story of Alligator Blood’s progress so far … as experienced by Jeff Simpson.

We gave ourselves ten days in which to make the decision as to where Alligator Blood would go next after his win in the Magic Millions’ Guineas.

In the end that proved to be an easy decision for David Vandyke to make. Al is in good shape. He is back in the stable and you could tell he looked forward to coming back inti the stable. You could tell he’d had enough of the paddock.

The Magic Millions was obviously on the Saturday and he went to the paddock on that Monday morning and he came back in on the Wednesday of the following week.

We are just having a chat to the Sunshine Coast Turf Club about maybe running Al in-between races on 2 February ... just to give him a blowout.That will probably be the last time we see him in Queensland for a while.

Then he gets serious with his schedule. On 15 February is the CS Hayes at Flemington. On 29 February is the Australian Guineas. If he comes through those two runs well, he will be off to the All Star Mile.

We wouldn’t think about trucking him down there. That choice has got nothing to do with what happened to him last time (when the float got stuck for hours on the highway on the way to the Gold Coast). It is just too long a trip to do that.

We will fly him down. We flew him down last time (for the Caulfield Guineas) and he was there at the stables within six hours.

He will be stabled at Flemington this time … not at Cranbourne.

It will be a bit of a trip for us. We won’t just be going to watch Al. We will be going to the sale in Sydney. My nephew is also an owner of Alligator Blood and we will also call in to see my nephew’s wife before we get to Melbourne. She is struggling with cancer.

We’ll see her and then we will go to the races on 15 February. So, things will be a bit hectic for us. We come back here after that on 16 February. Then we move into our new apartment on 17 February. Then we’ll fly back down on 29 February.

We’ll just about have to check the calendar to see what day it is.

Al will have a decent break when he comes back from those assignments. He won’t have had a decent break for a while and so we will give the Winter Carnival a miss.

That’s always the scariest part for me. I don’t mind them having a well-deserved break but I hate it when they are in the paddock, particularly when you have a horse with a bit of an attitude like Al.

When I was in the trotting business, we had a lot of problems with horses in the paddock … far more than when they were at the racetrack.

So, that is still a scary part for me. I know that mostly they are just horses being horses but sometimes they can be silly horses.

We do have a long-term plan for Al beyond the three upcoming races already mentioned. In fact, in the same way we had targeted the Magic Millions Guineas as his main aim in his recent series of runs, Al’s main aim for the rest of this year is actually the Golden Eagle which, all being well, he will tackle as a four-year-old on October 20 at Rosehill.

As always though, David's and our focus will be on Al's well-being and, if necessary, we will not hesitate to revise any part of his schedule to accommodate Al's needs should such a decision be required.

For now though, we are looking forward to Al's next campaign while being very mindful of just how lucky we are to be part of, what is for us, an amazing story.

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Alligator Blood

Photo: Graham Potter
Alligator Blood

Photo: Graham Potter
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