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Image: Darren Winningham
Alligator Blood has been named as the Queensland Horse Of The Year

The David Vandyke trained Alligator Blood has been named Queensland Horse Of The Year for the 2019/20 racing season.

The All Too Hard gelding contested ten races over the twelve month season, finished first past the post on no less than eight of those occasions.

Those results included the huge high of a Group 1 success in the Australian Guineas as well as one of the biggest comedowns when Alligator Blood was stripped of his lucrative win in the Gold Coast Guineas after returning a positive swab to Altrenogest.

But beyond that controversy, there could be no doubting the superior ability of Alligator Blood.

Alligator Blood won his first three races of the season, the last of those coming in the Caulfield Guineas Prelude, at a starting price of $6, when he took his campaign down south and beat off the strongly fancied $2.30 favourite Dalasan by 0,75 lengths. That was in his step up to Group 3 company.

Then it was on to the Group 1 Caulfield Guineas itself which turned out to be a race in which Alligator Blood had it won everywhere expect to last stride.

While the disappointment of losing by such a narrow margin was palpable at the time, so too was the genuine belief that Alligator Blood had again passed his latest test … stepping up to Group 1 standard … and that a success at the elite level was certainly well within his grasp.

That Caulfield Guineas run was in October 2019 after which Alligator Blood was given a spell in the paddock before returning for the Summer Carnival in Queensland where he basically took up from where he had left off.

Two successive wins in the Listed Gold Edition and the Group 3 Vo Rogue set up a crack at the lucrative Magic Millions Three-Year-Old Guineas which he duly won … but this was the victory which, as has been well documented, would ultimately be taken away from him.

The stable and Alligator Blood’s connections didn’t know that at the time though and they were able to celebrate what had been quite a harrowing day with Alligator Blood having been stuck in traffic on the highway for two hours pre-race … being in danger of missing the race completely … but that was a celebration which would turn sour months later with that disqualification

A month after the Magic Millions Alligator Blood was back in Victoria winning the Group 3 CS Hayes in a punishing race in which he outgunned the much-vaunted Catalyst.

And then came the race which catapulted Alligator Blood to Group 1 winning status … the Australian Guineas, which he won by an impressive 1.25 length margin.

Just two weeks after that victory, the All-Star Mile proved to be a bridge too far for Alligator Blood at the time. There was still no disgrace in finishing four lengths back but, clearly, it was time for a break and he was not seen in action again during the season.

So, there you have it.

One really unfortunate blemish on his record, one below par run (by his standards), one oh so narrow second place and seven striking victories on the board (a strike rate of seventy percent) … that was more than enough for Alligator Blood to be announced a deserved winner of the Queensland Horse Of The Year for the 2019/20 racing season.

 
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