There have been plenty of weird and wonderful yet successful sporting odd couples over the years and now racing may have its own with Alligator Blood’s studious trainer and his madcap and colourful managing owner.
David Vandyke and Allan Endresz are what Chris Rogers and Dave Warner once were to the Australian Test cricket team at the top of the batting order.
One a calm, composed presence and the other who plays a million big shots and you never quite know what you are going to get.
It’s a lot like that with Vandyke and Endresz, the duo seemingly the most unlikely of bedfellows, in a racing sense.
The quietly-spoken Vandyke is a horseman through and through – Endresz loves a legal stoush (or any sort of stoush) and his current bankruptcy is his fourth.
Some of Endresz’s statements throughout the Alligator Blood journey, claiming his horse was “got at” like Phar Lap over a swab irregularity, his pending legal action after being stripped of his Magic Millions win and even his recent vow to provide Men In Black Style security for the horse have made huge headlines.
All the while, Vandyke has been happy to keep his head down and quietly go about business at his Sunshine Coast stables.
Endresz is a high-voltage presence in the Alligator Blood story but there is a hidden force in the tale – and that is Endresz’s uncle and auntie Jeff and Robyn Simpson who are fellow owners in the Ezybonds No.1 syndicate.
While Vandyke insists he has always found Endresz good to deal with, he reveals he has a much tighter bond with the Simpsons since they moved to the Sunshine Coast.
“My experience with Allan is good. That’s probably the best way to put it,” Vandyke says.
‘I’ve found him the sort of person I can have open and honest discussions with.
“But I am very close to Jeff and Robyn – they have been like family to me since they moved up to the Sunshine Coast.
“Jeff gives me a hand and he works at the stable part-time, he is a terrific person.
“I go to their place and have meals we spend a lot of time with each other away from the racetrack.”
As for Endresz, he agrees the Simpsons are much closer to Vandyke than he is and they help provide the glue that drives the syndicate forward.
Endresz says many of his “antics” are premeditated and part of it is a marketing ploy and part of it is to take the bullets himself and let Vandyke train Alligator Blood and the other horses he owns with him.
“Put aside my antics, that‘s all been premeditated,” Endresz says.
“David then gets the ability to focus on what he is enjoying and that’s training the horses.
“It‘s taken a lot of pressure off him, with me taking the hits.
“David is the (horse) specialist, he is the magician.
“David is quite happy that I have got it in hand, we do have a bigger picture for the marketing of Alligator Blood.
“I don’t cross the line and will never cross the line to question David’s techniques or the way he trains or anything like that.
“He has been able to focus on the horse, I don’t mind taking the hits.
“I spilt my guts on my background to him on the very first day we met.
“I wanted him to be comfortable with my background and what was going to come out.
“There is no point trying to conceal your background, with the internet these days everything comes out, you are better off bringing it to the fore and then there’s not much to talk about.”
So what of the perception that Endresz’s behaviour has caused Alligator Blood to go from the cult hero horse who everyone loved to the horse that many are now death-riding.
Endresz insists that is simply not the case with his Group I Australian Guineas winner.
“The reality is we see what others don’t in terms of the support that Al has,” Endresz says.
“It is far from the truth that his popularity is on the wane.
“Even in the last two days there would be no change out of 600 or 700 emails and people wanting caps and things that love the horse.”
Alligator Blood is set to resume at Doomben on Saturday in the first plank of a mission which should culminate in the $7.5million Golden Eagle in Sydney and potentially include a tilt at the $15million The Everest.
Alligator Blood will carry 61kg and Vandyke says he will monitor the Brisbane weather with rain forecast on Friday and some on Saturday.
But he feels like it won’t stop the exciting galloper taking his place in the field as the $1.75 favourite.
‘I will have a chat with the owners if the track gets to the point where it’s going to be a mess, but it should be right,” he says.