CONNECTIONS of Alligator Blood have announced a major surprise in regards to their superstar galloper's main spring target.
Part-owner Allan Endresz said Alligator Blood will chase prestige over more prizemoney and will be set for the Cox Plate.
The lucrative $7.5 million Golden Eagle in Sydney was originally the aim before the change of plans.
Alligator Blood was the $4.50-favourite for the Golden Eagle before the shock announcement.
The Cox Plate is worth $5 million.
However, Alligator Blood is eligible for a $1 million bonus after winning the Australian Guineas at Flemington in February.
Endresz said it would a dream come true if Alligator Blood could add his name to the honour roll of the nation's premier weight-for-age classic.
"It's only in my wildest dreams that I ever thought I would have a horse good enough to win a Cox Plate," Endresz said.
"David Vandyke more or less rang me up on Friday morning and said I think we should target the Cox Plate.
"It only took me two seconds to think about it.
"Only champions win a Cox Plate and Better Loosen Up would be my all-time favourite winner of the race.
"So I'm all for the change of plans.
"Although 'big Al' has never run further than a mile previously, David is of the opinion the 2040m won't pose a problem."
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All Too Hard who is the sire of Alligator Blood ran second in the Cox Plate behind Ocean Park in 2012.
Endresz said the restrictions surrounding coronavirus and the logistics of getting to Melbourne were more favourable than travelling to Sydney.
"He has obviously raced successfully in Melbourne previously," he said.
"He has been stabled in Melbourne previously as well and is familiar with his surrounds there.
"There is also plenty of suitable lead-up races in Melbourne prior to the Cox Plate.
"Also with the COVID-19 environment we can get a direct flight from Queensland to Melbourne but not Queensland to Sydney."
Alligator Blood opened as a $15-chance in future markets for the Cox Plate.
Endresz said the lack of overseas rivals due to COVID-19 restrictions could also play into the hands of Alligator Blood.
"There will be no Japanese horses this year for a start," he said.
The Roger Hoysted-trained Lad Of The Manor was the most recent galloper to contest a Cox Plate that had border connections.
Lad Of The Manor finished fifth in 2005 behind Makybe Diva.
He finished ninth the following year behind Fields Of Omagh.