Hong Kong still option for Douro Valley

Douro Valley could be Australia’s sole representative at the rich international meeting in Hong Kong.

Douro Vally wins Race 5, the Yalumba Stakes at Caulfield on Saturday 11 October 2008, ridden by Jamie Winks trained by Danny O'Brien.  Photo by Bronwen Healy Although disappointed the gelding was beaten by Zipping in Saturday’s Sandown Classic, trainer Danny O’Brien said he was still keen to press on to the Hong Kong Vase (2400m) at Sha Tin on December 14.

"He’s racing in the best form of his career. He won the Yalumba and and it’s always been the intention to go to Hong Kong if he gets an invitation," O’Brien said.

"It is not an afterthought, he’s been trained conservatively to go up there and be competitive."

Douro Valley won the weight-for-age Group One Yalumba (2000m) on October 11 then ran 13th of 17 in the Caulfield Cup.

He missed the Melbourne Cup won by Viewed, a late scratching from the Yalumba, and finished a long head second to Zipping in the Sandown Classic (2400m).

Whether champion sprinter Apache Cat goes to the Hong Kong meeting depends on his performance in the Winterbottom Stakes in Perth on November 29.

Apache Cat was soundly beaten in the Patinack Farm Classic at Flemington on November 8 but trainer Greg Eurell hasn’t completely ruled out the Hong Kong Sprint (1200m).

"It is going to be a good benchmark for us," Eurell said.

"If he can beat Takeover Target in the Winterbottom it will be a pretty good guide that he is going alright."

Prior to his last start failure, Apache Cat had won his previous five starts, all at Group One level, earning him the title of Australian champion sprinter for 2007-08.

He and Takeover Target galloped together between races at Ascot on Saturday and will be up against Perth star Danny Beau in the Winterbottom.

A half-brother to outstanding mare Miss Andretti, Danny Beau took .29sec off her 1200m Ascot record with his win in the Group Three Colonel Reeves, running 1:08.00.