Trainer David Vandyke opens door for tilt at Cox Plate with Alligator Blood

Alligator Blood’s planned resumption in Brisbane on September 12 remains unchanged, despite trainer David Vandyke opening the door on a possible Cox Plate tilt.

Alligator Blood has long been favourite for Sydney’s $7.5 million Golden Eagle and that race still remains the slightly favoured target, but Vandyke is covering bases by nominating for Melbourne as well.

“Nominations close on Tuesday for the Cox Plate and under the circumstances of uncertainty we are all living in at the moment, it’s wise for us to throw a nom in,” Vandyke said.

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“There have been instances (since the COVID outbreak) of them calling meetings off with very little notice. We’ve seen it happen in Sydney and Melbourne.

“I wouldn’t like to get close to the Golden Eagle and then the circumstances change due to COVID-19 and we’re all dressed up with nowhere to go.

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“Now is the time to explore all the options going forward.”

There is the carrot of a $1 million Cox Plate bonus for Alligator Blood as the winner of the Australian Guineas, meaning that race would be worth $4 million for connections to win, but Vandyke said dollars will not be the deciding factor, because it’s almost “apples for apples” with the Golden Eagle being a $3.7 million payday.

“On paper the Golden Eagle is probably the weaker race, but you also have to consider the Cox Plate could have less internationals than previous years,” he said. “The scales are tipped towards the Golden Eagle but now is the time to consider the Cox Plate.

Trainer David Andyke is keeping his options open with Alligator Blood in the spring. Picture: Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images

“I would be more comfortable going into the Golden Eagle because I know he will get 1500m and I know there’s no four-year-old in Australasia I would be scared of over that trip.

“The Cox Plate, it can attract anything and there’s the unknown of 2040m.”

Another consideration is the travel, where Alligator Blood would fly to Melbourne and be only seven hours door to door, compared to a 14-hour float trip to Sydney, but again, that won’t make or break any decision.

Regardless of what campaign is ultimately decided upon, Alligator Blood’s first-up run will remain at Doomben on September 12.

“From my experience it won’t make any difference whether we are going to Sydney or Melbourne for his preparation going into his first-up run. It’s after that his training (would change),” Vandyke said. “The closer we get to one of those two goals, the more definite we have to become.”

Trainer David Vandyke will throw in a nomination for Alligator Blood in the Cox Plate. Picture: AAPSource:AAP

BOUGOURE WELCOMES CHANGE

Danny Bougoure is about to join the fleet of trainers at the Eagle Farm infield stables, just as his stable has hit a purple patch of form.

Four of Bougoure’s last seven runners have been winners, including Azzareach, who is second elect behind the hotpot Bleu Zebra in Race 4 at Eagle Farm on Saturday.

The 54-year-old is approaching his 30th year in training and after being based in the old Eagle Farm raceday stalls for a number of years, is looking forward to the upcoming change.

“It’s a good positive move for us,” he said.

“We have 17 horses in work and another 20 in the paddock. I don’t want to get huge, but having 18-20 in work all the time would be good.

“We have a lot more inquiries now to train horses and new clients coming to the stable.

“We have a couple of nice babies coming through, so it’s starting to build now.”

Azzareach will be heading for a break regardless of how he performs on Saturday, with his trainer hoping he learns to be a better boy next time around.

Trainer Danny Bougoure hopes to continue his stable’s winning form at Eagle Farm on Saturday. Picture: Glenn HampsonSource:News Limited

“He’s a nice horse, but he’s a bit of a handful, being a little colt,” he said.

“I feel if I geld him it will take the competitiveness out of him, so I’ve been reluctant to do that. He will definitely be better next prep, there’s lots of room for improvement.”

Because of his habit of at times being a little unruly, Bougoure wasn’t sure what to expect at the Gold Coast, where he was sent out a $21 chance.

“I wasn’t surprised at the Gold Coast. But being a bit of a handful, we thought if he went there and displayed his coltish behaviour he might run last as well,” Bougoure said.

“In the email to the owners I said he would either win or run last. A few of the owners had something on him so that was good.’’

Bougoure still readily recalls the halcyon days with his grand sprinter Falvelon, who took him to Melbourne and Hong Kong during a stellar career.

“You never forget them. There’s always the good memories. It’s just a matter of trying to find another one,” he said. “There’s a fair bit of promise coming through with these babies, so hopefully there’s a bit to look forward to.”

Originally published asVandyke adds twist to Alligator’s spring plans

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