iskander

Apache Cat gunning for sixth Group One in a row


Australia’s reigning champion sprinter Apache Cat is "climbing the walls" to get out and stretch his Group One winning streak in tomorrow’s Patinack Farm Classic at Flemington.

Apache-Cat The popular baldy-faced chestnut is making his spring debut and looks set to add to his five Group One wins in a row last season.

"He is in fantastic order," trainer Greg Eurell said.

"He is that well he is climbing the walls at the moment and he desperately needs to run."

Eurell has carefully designed Apache Cat’s program to just one spring run as a lead-in to the Hong Kong Sprint (1200m) at Sha Tin on December 14.

Deviating from the plan was not an option although Eurell admitted at times it had been hard to show restraint while watching some of the premier sprints in the spring with Apache Cat at home in the stable.

"It has been tough to watch a couple of the races and think we would have been a good chance in them," Eurell said.

"But it has been a long, steady build-up to this race and, as you do, you try to get them to peak on the day and I think we have got him there.

"The game plan has always been to go this way and I am very happy with him."

Six-year-old Apache Cat has won 16 of his 30 starts and tomorrow’s first prize of $300,000 would take his earnings to almost $3.65 million.

His only defeat in his last eight starts was when second to Marasco in the Group Two Makybe Diva Stakes (1600m) at Flemington in September last year.

At his two previous runs he won the Group Three Bletchingly Stakes (1200m) and the Group Two Liston Stakes (1400m), both at Caulfield.

He kicked off his Group One winning streak with the Lightning Stakes (1000m) at Flemington on February 2 and Australia Stakes over tomorrow’s distance of 1200m at Moonee Valley on February 16.

After a 10-week freshen-up he added the TJ Smith (1200m) at Randwick on April 26, the BTC Cup (1200m) at Doomben on May 10 and the Doomben 10,000 (1350m) on May 24.

"It will be good to get him racing again and I’m really looking forward to it," Eurell said.

He said Apache Cat needed to run well to justify the trip to Hong Kong but betting agencies expect him to win with $1.70 quoted by TAB Sportsbet and $1.85 with Eskander’s Betstar.

Even trainer Mathew Ellerton, who trains the emerging star sprinter and the second favourite Sunburnt Land, has conceded that Apache Cat looked unbeatable.

"I will be happy if we run second," Ellerton said.

Eurell said Apache Cat would be flown to Hong Kong in early December which would give him nearly two weeks to acclimatise for the Hong Kong Sprint.

"At this stage it is full steam ahead to Hong Kong," Eurell said.

By Robert Windmill