In less than 75 seconds, there will be an answer to a debate that has been raging for weeks.
This is about the time Alligator Blood needs to complete the 1300m of the $500,000 Silver Eagle at Royal Randwick on Saturday and prove once and for all whether he is back to his brilliant best.
Alligator Blood’s form has been questioned since the gelding was beaten into third place when resuming in a Doomben 1100m sprint a month ago.
Trainer David Vandyke has heard all the talk but has deliberately decided not to buy into the debate although he concedes the moment of truth has arrived for Alligator Blood.
“The Silver Eagle is going to be significant to see if Alligator Blood is back to his best,’’ Vandyke said.
“I thought his first-up run was a pass mark but this race at Randwick will be a test for him and give us a better understanding of where he is at.
“I know it is only a small field but Dawn Passage is a quality horse and the form around some of the other horses is good, too.
“But if Alligator Blood has come back as good as he was, then he will be hard to beat.’’
Alligator Blood was one of the nation’s most outstanding three-year-olds last season, winning the Group 1 Australian Guineas and finishing second in the Caulfield Guineas.
He also romped away with the Magic Millions Guineas only to be disqualified as the winner after returning a positive swab.
Then there was the speculation about a potential slot in the $15 million The TAB Everest (1200m) next week before connections made the decision to concentrate on the $7.5 million Golden Eagle (1500m) at Rosehill Gardens on October 31.
“The owners and I had numerous discussions about Alligator Blood’s spring campaign and it’s great that we are all on the same page,’’ Vandyke said.
“We wanted the best path for the horse to give him the best opportunity in the most winnable race at the top level for him.
“In our opinion, that race is the Golden Eagle so we have mapped out a preparation to have him in the best possible shape for that race.
“He had his first-up run in Brisbane, then travelled to Sydney this week for the Silver Eagle which is an ideal lead-up to the Golden Eagle.’’
Alligator Blood is the $1.75 favourite to win the Silver Eagle ahead of Dawn Passage at $4.60 and last start Golden Pendant winner Subpoenaed is at $4.80.
Vandyke said he won’t be loading up jockey Ryan Maloney with too many riding instructions for stable star Alligator Blood’s Sydney debut.
“Alligator Blood did get back early last start and he got back to midfield in the Magic Millions but he’s led and won before,’’ Vandyke said.
“He’s a versatile horse and can put himself anywhere in the field. The main thing is for Ryan to have an open mind when the gates open. I will leave it up to Ryan and the horse to decide where he settles in the run.’’
Vandyke also confirmed he is considering keeping Alligator Blood in training for the $1 million The Gong (1600m) at Kembla Grange on November 21.
“There is nowhere else to go so it is either The Gong or the paddock,’’ Vandyke said.
“We are keen to run in The Gong if he has come through the Golden Eagle in good shape and then he can have a break and freshen up for the autumn.’’