Perth a stepping stone to Hong Kong for Cat
Greg Eurell has left the door ajar for Apache Cat to contest next month’s Hong Kong Sprint should he rebound from a shock defeat and regain winning form in the Winterbottom Stakes in Perth.
Eurell was at the loss to explain Apache Cat’s fading eighth to Swick in last Saturday’s Group One Patinack Farm Classic (1200m) at Flemington on Saturday but is prepared to give the chestnut a chance to redeem himself with showdown with Takeover Target.
"It is going to be a good benchmark for us," Eurell said of the November 29 race.
"If he can beat Takeover Target in the Winterbottom it will be a pretty good guide that he is going all right."
Australia’s reigning champion sprinter, Apache Cat was making his spring debut in the Patinack after winning his previous five starts, all at Group One level.
"We can’t find any reason why he ran like he did last Saturday," Eurell said. "We may never know.
"He’s as good as he was the day before the race and there is nothing to lead us to believe anything is wrong with him."
He is optimistic Apache Cat will run well in Perth.
"It is probably the right way to go," Eurell said.
Apache Cat and Takeover Target are booked to fly to Perth on Tuesday and are expected to gallop between races at Ascot on Saturday.
Also on the plane will be Peter Moody-trained stablemates Pillar Of Hercules and Annenkov while David Hayes has gifted three-year-old filly Hips Don’t Lie, classy mare El Daana, evergreen seven-year-old Niconero and Perth Cup-bound galloper The Fuzz travelling west.
Matthew Enright will send Cranbourne Cup winner Majestical and lightly-raced stablemate Can’t Wait.
The 2007 Stradbroke Handicap winner Sniper’s Bullet will also make the trip across the Nullabor along with the highly-talented Mick Price-trained Rightfully Yours, who won the last race of the Cup carnival.
West Australian gallopers Guyno, who finished 12th in the Melbourne Cup and New Spice, who was trained by Brian Mayfield-Smith during the carnival, both return home on Tuesday’s flight.