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By Graham Potter | Friday, October 9, 2020

Graham Potter writes a weekly column for the Sunshine Coast daily. Due to demand from those having trouble accessing the column these articles are now also published on HRO courtesy of the Sunshine Coast daily.

The Sunshine Coast’s star performer Alligator Blood will race in the Silver Eagle at Randwick today … in what is essentially his curtain raiser down south as he heads towards his Grand final for this campaign, the $7.5 million Golden Eagle at Rosehill on October 31.

Trainer David Vandyke, like everybody else, is obviously keen to see the smart son of All Too Hard, progress fluently in this latest preparation and, whatever the result, the Silver Eagle will provide more up to date evidence of just how well the horse is doing.

Not that four-year-old has anything wrong since coming back into Vandyke’s stable after an extended break in the paddock. In all, Alligator Blood was away from competitive racing action for a full six months, since which time he has had a couple of serious track gallops and a first-up run at Doomben in which he finished third behind the smart The Odyssey.

While some, in theory, might have expected more from that run at Doomben, the race was actually pretty much run to script with Alligator Blood, carrying the big weight of 61kg over a distance (1100m) well short of his best, expected to be closing late but it was never going to be a train-smash if he didn’t get there.

All through this preparation Vandyke has ben low-key about Alligator Blood’s chances down south … but do not misunderstand that vibe.

Vandyke is a level-headed, feet on the ground trainer who never gets ahead of himself. He is realist whose main focus is on every aspect of the horse’s preparation and the job that he has to do. To him, any fanfare for his horse or himself is left to others to provide if they see fit … so you will never see him doing somersaults or loudly ramping up his horse’s performance unnecessarily.

What he will do is give praise quietly to a horse when he feels it is due after a job well done and he will stay reserved in his commentary about anything that lies ahead because there is so much along that road that can ambush the best of plans.

Alligator Blood will have a chance to make his own statement in the Silver Eagle, with regular jockey Ryan Maloney down there to take the ride.

There will be no doubting that most Queenslanders will hope it will be a bold statement which will emphasis his credentials for the big one moving forward.

It might only be a curtain raiser but, in the overall context, it is a race of real importance and it will be watched with a keen interest, particularly by the racing fraternity in the Sunshine Coast where the Vandyke stable is based.

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Trainer David Vandyke and Alligator Blood
Trainer David Vandyke and Alligator Blood
Alligator Blood and Ryan Maloney ... are they ready to make a bold statement?

Photos: Graham Potter</b.
Alligator Blood and Ryan Maloney ... are they ready to make a bold statement?

Photos: Graham Potter
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