PART-OWNER Allan Endresz is predicting Alligator Blood to make a triumphant return to Victoria today.
The boom three-year-old suffered the only defeat of his nine-start career in Melbourne in the Caulfield Guineas in October.
Alligator Blood arrived at Flemington last week and has settled in well ahead of today's $160,000 CS Hayes Stakes (1400m).
It will be the first of three Autumn carnival targets alongside the Australian Guineas and All-Star Mile.
"I have been down to Flemington on Wednesday and Thursday to see the champ," Endresz said.
"I even got up at 3am one morning to go and watch trackwork.
"Ryan is absolutely pumped how Alligator Blood has thrived since his win in the 3YO Magic Millions Guineas.
"Ryan copped a bit of criticism last time he rode in Melbourne for his ride in the Caulfield Guineas and is determined to make amends.
"But it's not going to be a stroll in the park and there is some worthy rivals."
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There is plenty of hype surrounding the CS Hayes with gun Kiwi three-year-old Catalyst making his Australian debut.
Catalyst has created a huge impression in New Zealand after winning six of seven starts including his last four in group company.
Alligator Blood is quoted as a $2-chance with Catalyst at $2.70.
While many pundits are predicting a match race between the pair, Endresz said he also had a lot of respect for Dalasan who is a $5-chance.
"Today will give us a good gauge as to where we are in the pecking order," he said.
"Catalyst is following a similar path to us in racing in the CS Hayes Stakes, into the Australian Guineas and then into the All Star Mile.
"A lot of good judges see it as a match race but I'm not so sure.
"Don't under-estimate Dalasan who is also going to be tough to beat.
"But I think you are going to see a different Al.
"Ryan said he felt the horse was gliding in trackwork and Al looks magnificent, he really does."
Trainer David Vandyke has already notified stewards that there will be a change of tactics with Alligator Blood in that he stable star intends to lead if circumstances permit.
Alligator Blood has drawn the inside barrier and tactically Catalyst won't want to be spotting his biggest danger too big a start.
"David has already notified the stewards that our tactics will be to lead," he said.
"Big Parade looked to be the pace in the race but has since withdrawn.
"Ryan has got it all mapped out in his head what he is going to do and that is force Catalyst to earn his money.
"Al's biggest asset is his combination of early tactical speed and good acceleration when asked."