Stradbroke Handicap: Alligator Blood back from oblivion with famous win in Queensland’s premier race - bdsthanhhoavn.com

Stradbroke Handicap: Alligator Blood back from oblivion with famous win in Queensland’s premier race

Alligator Blood’s best form looked behind him after a turbulent career that’s resembled a soap opera but he turned back the clock for an epic Stradbroke Handicap win.

She might have been half a world away in London, but racing’s first lady Gai Waterhouse has hailed Alligator Blood’s emotional comeback Stradbroke Handicap win as one of her finest moments in the sport.

Waterhouse has done it all, but the Stradbroke had long eluded her illustrious training career, until now, turning around a horse that was seemingly in racing oblivion.

Banned from New South Wales, diagnosed with a debilitating kissing spine condition, stripped of his Magic Millions 3YO Guineas victory and more stable changes in a year than most have in a lifetime – Alligator Blood is never far from the headlines.

To top it off, the racing gods chucked barrier 21 in the way, but Alligator Blood overcame all of it to cap off one of the most memorable Stradbrokes in history.

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Arriving to Waterhouse, who co-trains with Adrian Bott, as damaged goods, the training duo pulled off a training masterpiece to snare Queensland racing’s greatest prize.

“I am so thrilled, I honestly I am, it is right up there,” Waterhouse told News Corp Australia from London, after notching up her 150th Group 1 winner.

“It is a huge thrill, I have never won a Stradbroke.

“I was particularly thrilled because this is a horse Adrian has really taken total and personal responsibility for, he has basically trained Alligator Blood.

“That’s why I am so proud of the win, this horse came to us as fruit out of season, it has been a long time getting him to the track because different things have held him up.

“It was only his second start back and he was just too strong.”

After a disappointing summer campaign, Alligator Blood’s best years looked behind him, but Waterhouse and Bott were able to weave their magic just in time for a timed-to-the-minute winter campaign.

“I think you have to have horses happy, people don’t realise that,” Waterhouse said.

“If you have a happy horse with what they are doing, you can grab the stars.

“I have found that in the decades of my training career, if you can have a horse enjoying what they are doing, they will do it very enthusiastically.

“That is what we were able to do with Alligator Blood, he is really enjoying life.”

Waterhouse hailed jockey Tim Clark’s slashing ride as “perfect”, taking luck out of the equation and putting the $11 chance right in the race from the carpark barrier.

“Tim Clark rode him exactly how we like our horses ridden, he had the outside draw, lots of people don’t like them but I am never concerned about an outside draw,” she said.

Fellow Queenslander Rothfire had local trainer Rob Heathcote grinning like a Cheshire cat after running the race of his life into third, behind the flashing topweight Private Eye and holding off fellow local Isotope, who ran fourth.

The speed machine put the handle bars down and injected a hot speed into the 1400m sprint test and had Heathcote daring to dream of his own Stradbroke glory at the top of the straight.

“I could see them in behind him and I thought he was holding them off,” Heathcote said.

“He is never going to be the horse he was, because he only has 50 per cent flexion in one leg but he is sound and he is back to this level.

“He has made a lot of owners very happy and he will go to the spring now, maybe Melbourne.

“Tommy Berry said we he has been riding for 16 or 17 years and it is as tough a horse he has sat on.

“Full credit to Gai and Adrian, how do they do that? They’ve got a horse back from what was seemingly oblivion and win our biggest race.”

Fellow local hope and Kingsford-Smith Cup winner Apache Chase was slow away, with trainer Desleigh Forster saying Isotope playing up in the barriers may have caused the tardiness.

Originally published as Stradbroke Handicap: Alligator Blood back from oblivion with famous win in Queensland’s premier race

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