Cat heads to TJ, Hussler a maybe
Champion sprinter Apache Cat will be aimed at a defence of the TJ Smith Stakes in Sydney while veterinary tests will determine the immediate future of Weekend Hussler.
But Weekend Hussler was found wanting and finished fifth of the seven runners leaving trainer Ross McDonald baffled.
McDonald rated the performance as Weekend Hussler’s worst and planned to take him home for a thorough veterinary check.
"It’s disappointing," McDonald said. "I haven’t got any answers.
"It was his worst run, I reckon. The horse seemed good and if he’s alright I will give him a run at a mile (1600m) in the Futurity and if he doesn’t fire he will go to the paddock."
The reigning Horse of the Year has been beaten at his past four starts and his losing run casts doubt on a planned international campaign in Dubai and Hong Kong in the coming months.
Last month jockey Brad Rawiller was criticised for jamming up Weekend Hussler when he finished fourth in the Lightning but on Saturday he gave him plenty of galloping room.
A much more optimistic trainer Greg Eurell said Apache Cat would target the TJ Smith again before any decision was made on an overseas campaign.
"There is a lot to weigh up, whether to go overseas or not," Eurell told Sky’s Racing Retro.
"We have to think about where we place him.
"If we take him away then he comes back and has to spend time in the paddock and there are only so many races for him."
In 2008, Apache Cat followed his TJ Smith win with victories in the BTC Cup and Doomben 10,000 during the Brisbane winter carnival, options Eurell will consider again.
The Group One TJ Smith Stakes (1200m) is at Randwick on April 18.
Apache Cat was ridden by Damien Oliver at Moonee Valley replacing Corey Brown who won five Group One races on the gelding last year which earned the six-year-old the champion sprinter title.