Popular Queensland horse Alligator Blood is nearing his racetrack return, but it will not be with Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott like first expected.
The now five-year-old gelding won the Group 1 Australian Guineas in the autumn of 2019 before suffering an injury – kissing spine – which put him out of the game for nearly 12 months.
After David Vandyke dropped the horse from his stable last year, it was announced that the Waterhouse & Bott team would take over training duties.
However, connections revealed on Thursday morning that the job of prepping Alligator Blood for his comeback campaign this spring would instead be handed over to young Sunshine Coast trainer Billy Healy, who has been caring for the Group 1 winner since he underwent surgery at Gatton in late 2020.
“He really has thrived, the horse looks incredible, he’s come up better than you probably could have ever hoped,” Healy told Racing.com.
“Obviously, the back surgery that he had, it definitely seems to have worked; he’s free as a bird in his action.”
Alligator Blood had a jump-out between races at the Sunshine Coast last Sunday where he was partnered by James Orman, who said he would love to keep the ride.
The son of All Too Hard will kick off his campaign on August 27 in the Goldmarket Handicap at the Gold Coast, where Orman will likely ride at 61kg, before heading south for the spring with the Cox Plate in mind.
Alligator Blood has had some success in Victoria in the past, winning the Caulfield Guineas Prelude, C.S. Hayes Stakes and Australian Guineas, but he will have to scale new heights to take out Australia’s premier weight-for-age race.
Three-time Melbourne Cup-winning jockey Glen Boss has been booked to ride in the Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes and Toorak Handicap before he makes a final decision on whether to stick onboard for the Moonee Valley feature on October 23.
Alligator Blood has won nine of his 15 career starts, racking up $1.8 million in prizemoney, and is paying $34 for the Cox Plate, $11 for the Sir Rupert Clarke and $26 for the Toorak.