Oliver key to Apache Cat's avenging Hong Kong defeat
Damien Oliver’s riding style could be the key to Apache Cat avenging last year’s defeat in the Hong Kong Sprint at Sha Tin.
While not critical of Corey Brown’s handling of the champion sprinter last year when he was beaten a half length finishing third to Inspiration in the international sprint, trainer Greg Eurell said Oliver probably suited Apache Cat better.
He believes the popular speedster no longer hits the flat spot that became evident a year ago which could make a difference in the Hong Kong feature on December 13.
"I wouldn’t say you notice a flat spot with Damien riding him," Eurell said.
"I am not saying Corey rode him badly but the two jockeys have different riding styles.
"Damien has a knack of letting him blend in to his races probably a little bit differently to what Corey did."
Oliver took over from Brown as Apache Cat’s regular rider in February this year.
Brown won five Group One races in nine rides on the baldy faced chestnut but he hasn’t ridden him since he finished second last in the Group One Lightning Stakes at Flemington in January.
Oliver’s record in eight rides on Apache Cat has been three wins including a Group One double in the the Australia Stakes at Moonee Valley and the Doomben 10,000.
He also won the Group Two Schweppes Stakes (1200m) on him at Moonee Valley on Cox Plate Day before a 1-1/2 length fourth to Hong Kong rival All Silent in the Group One Patinack Farm Stakes (1200m) at Flemington on November 7.
A seven-year-old, Apache Cat, has now won 19 of his 41 races and more than $4.5 million in prizemoney.
Eurell said the gelding had a week off after the Patinack Farm and would leave for Hong Kong on December 2.
"He got through the spring all right and we are just working our way back up to where has to be before he flies out," Eurell said.
"I hope to have him pretty primed up before he goes."
Meanwhile Apache Cat’s multiple stakes winning stablemate Mic Mac has been spelling since his fifth in the Patinack Farm and has the Doomben 10,000 as his goal next campaign.
"He deserves a good break," Eurell said.
He said Mic Mac may not race in Melbourne next autumn and instead resume at Sydney carnival.
"If he does run in Melbourne it would probably be the Australia Stakes and he would head north from there," Eurell said.
By Robert Windmill