Blood ready to play leading role in Mile
CHAMPION three-year-old Alligator Blood is likely to have the front position in Saturday's All-Star Mile to himself after Tuesday's barrier draw.
Alligator Blood drew gate 10 for the $5 million race at Caulfield.
The other noted on-pacer in the race, Streets Of Avalon, drew barrier 11, but his connections have indicated they would prefer to take a sit behind the Queensland star.
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Alligator Blood's trainer David Vandyke was pleased the frontrunners had drawn next to each other.
"You know my boy is competitive and, with Streets Of Avalon on our outside, he'll jump well and they will come across and vie for the front position," Vandyke said.
He said Alligator Blood worked well at Flemington on Tuesday and continued to astound him with how well he had coped with his preparation. Jockey Ryan Maloney was pleased with the draw.
"It's a bonus having Streets Of Avalon on our outside,'' he said. "We can both work across and we've got time to sort it out. He's just so adaptable and versatile, he can do whatever he wants."
Maloney said he was surprised how well Alligator Blood felt in trackwork on Tuesday.
"I was a bit worried as that (Australian Guineas) was a tough run the other day,'' he said. "This was the first time I'd been back on him since and his work was as good as it has ever been."
Alligator Blood stayed $2.70 with Ladbrokes after the barrier draw. Melody Belle is second favourite at $5. One punter will be hoping Alligator Blood is victorious after placing a $3000 wager at $7 on January 15, which would result in a $21,000 collect.
Shane Nichols, trainer of Futurity Stakes winner Streets Of Avalon, said they weren't planning on a tussle for the lead with Alligator Blood.
"It's still early and we've got to work our tactics with Ben Melham, and it's up to him, but our preference would be take a sit about a length off him," Nichols said.
"Bottom line is if we take him on, the best we can finish is eighth, while if we stalk him, then we can run out the mile and who knows?
"I wanted Alligator Blood to draw inside of us and hopefully we can position up a length behind him. I'd rather do that than lead. His record sitting off them is quite good."
Racing Victoria's Greg Carpenter said assembling such a quality field was the end of a year-long journey. "Last year we had seven Group 1 winners and this year, with our tweaks to eligibility, we've now got 10 Group 1 winners,'' Carpenter said.
Enigmatic galloper So Si Bon snuck into the field and Godolphin accepted with three-year-old filly Flit as its representative. Carpenter was thrilled there was a New Zealand representative, Melody Belle, for the first time in the All-Star Mile.
Meantime, WA galloper Regal Power has also had early support. One punter had $5000 the win ($13) and $10,000 the place ($3.66) on the Australian Cup runner-up, while another punter has plonked $1000 the win ($34) and $3000 the place ($8.33) on Streets Of Avalon..
1. Kolding (7) C Waller H Bowman 59kg
2. Black Heart Bart (6) L Smith B Rawiller 59kg
3. Fierce Impact (12) M Smith C Williams 59kg
4. Regal Power (3) G & A Williams W Pike 59kg
5. Streets Of Avalon (11) S Nichols B Melham 59kg
6. So Si Bon (9) D & B Hayes & T Dabernig L Nolen 59kg
7. Mr Quickie (4) P Stokes D Oliver 59kg
8. Star Missile (2) G Eurell C Newitt 59kg
9. Melody Belle (5) J Richards O Bosson 57kg
10. Aristia (8) M Ellerton & S Zahra D Dunn 57kg
11. Alligator Blood (10) D Vandyke R Maloney 56kg
12. Dalasan (13) L Macdonald & A Gluyas J Kah 56kg
13. Superstorm (14) G & A Williams M Zahra 56kg
14. Heart Of Puissance (1) C Maher & D Eustace J Allen 56kg
15. Flit (15) J Cummings D Lane 54kg
16e. Spanish Reef (-) K Keys - 57kg
17e. Admirall's Joker (-) K Vella S Vella 59kg
18e. Gold Fields (-) L McGill - 59kg