Good mates catch up as Blood plot thickens

The quiet, rural surrounds of the spelling paddock provides a cloak of anonymity for the trainer and his star racehorse.

David Vandyke shares a special bond with Alligator Blood and makes a point of visiting the gelding twice a week.

Alligator Blood is enjoying some R‘n’R at a property in country Queensland after a spectacular summer-autumn race campaign when he announced himself as one of the most exciting gallopers in Australian racing.

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Special bond: Trainer David Vandyke with his champion gelding Alligator Blood, who has won 10 of his 12 races.Source:News Corp Australia

“I can tell you, Alligator Blood looks great,’’ Vandyke told The Sunday Telegraph.

“This is the first decent spell he has ever had. He only had 10 days off between his spring and summer campaigns so he’s enjoying the break.

“He has strengthened and will develop into a stronger horse next season. I honestly think the best is still to come with him.’’

If this is the case, Alligator Blood, the winner of 10 of his 12 starts including the Group 1 Australian Guineas, just might be the “next big thing” in Australian racing.

But for now, Alligator Blood holds the spotlight across Australian racing for all the wrong reasons after returning a positive swab after his brilliant win in the $2 million Magic Millions 3YO Guineas last January.

Racing Queensland advised Vandyke last Tuesday that Alligator Blood’s “B” sample taken after that race also contained traces of the banned substance Altrenogest.

Jockey Ryan Maloney and Alligator Blood make easy work of their rivals in the Magic Millions 3YO Guineas.Source:AAP

Swab samples taken from every other race that Alligator Blood has contested including his Group 1 Australian Guineas win have been cleared, which makes the Magic Millions positive even more of a mystery.

Altrenogest is a prohibited in male horses under the Australian Rules of Racing. It’s a hormone treatment used to control the cycles of fillies and mares but can be used to calm an unruly colt or stallion. Alligator Blood is a gelding.

The inquiry will take time to unfold with the Queensland Racing Integrity Commission yet to fix a date.

“Stewards have offered Mr Vandyke the opportunity to provide his submissions in writing or at a steward’s inquiry to be held via telephone or video conference on a date to be fixed due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” a QRIC statement read.

The rules of Australian racing are black and white when it comes to a positive swab so the most likely determination of the QRIC inquiry is that Alligator Blood will be disqualified as the winner of the Magic Millions Guineas. Runner-up Eleven Eleven will be awarded the race.

The stewards will consider the evidence before deciding whether to issue a sanction against Vandyke. The trainer is likely to be hit with a fine.

As disappointing at this positive test is for Alligator Blood’s connections, you get the feeling Vandyke and owner Allan Endresz will welcome the opportunity to have their say at the inquiry.

The Vandyke I know might be a man of principle and integrity, and it’s crucial for all parties that this controversy is dealt with through the proper channels.

With a name like Alligator Blood it is easy to see why he is one of the most popular gallopers in Australia.Source:AAP

The sport is undergoing a changing of the guard with the retirements of the likes of Pierata, Redzel, Happy Clapper, Alizee, Exceedance and Microphone at this autumn carnival, and the emergence of Alligator Blood is a boost as much for fans — everybody loves a champion — and the industry.

Alligator Blood is a gelding so his future is on the racecourse. He is a rising four-year-old and can keep racing at a very high level for three or four years at least, barring injury or loss of form.

The horse’s name attracts attention. “Alligator Blood” is a poker term for a player who never gives up. It suits the gelding.

All the big races next season are being considered for Alligator Blood. He is among the early favourites for the $15 million The TAB Everest and $7.5 million Golden Eagle next spring.

Like most owners, Endresz is passionate about his star racehorse. He speaks his mind about this issue — he has become a target on social media but tends to give as good as he gets.

Vandyke has a close relationship with his stable star.Source:News Corp Australia

He is even prepared to challenge the rules of racing as part of the defence against Alligator Blood’s positive swap.

All this is happening while Endresz copes with the trauma of his wife Joy’s battle with terminal cancer.

As for Vandyke, he released a statement last week when he admitted the Alligator Blood issue “presents a challenging time” for his stable.

“Since moving to Queensland in May 2016 this is the first irregularity that I have had in this state,” the statement read.

“It is my hope that the inquiry will shed light on how Altrenogest entered Alligator Blood’s system and help prevent any similar incident occurring in racing again.”





Originally published asGood mates catch up as Blood plot thickens

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