Can Cat get the cream in Winterbottom?
Apache Cat is "rock hard fit" for a career defining test in Saturday’s Group Two Winterbottom Stakes (1200m) in Perth.
A crack at some of the world’s best sprinters in next month’s Hong Kong Sprint (1200m) at Sha Tin hangs in the balance for six-time Group one winner who needs to bounce back from a shock defeat in the Patinack Farm Classic (1200m) at Flemington.
Trainer Greg Eurell is thrilled with reports on how well Apache Cat has trained on in the last two weeks in Perth.
Eurell will he fly there from Melbourne on Saturday to saddle him up for a showdown with dual international Group One winner Takeover Target in Perth’s premier sprint at Ascot.
"Nearly all our work is done," Eurell said. "He has thrived over there and we are ready to go."
Only nine horses have accepted for the $400,000 Winterbottom and Takeover Target is $2.50 favourite with TAB Sportsbet after drawing gate one.
Apache Cat is $2.80 from barrier five while in-form Perth sprinter Danny Beau drew the outside and, quoted at $5.50, is the only other runner under double figure odds.
Marasco, Hips Don’t Lie, Hadabeclorka, Royal Lott, Innovation and Surprise Impact make up the field.
Apache Cat will round out his race preparation on Tuesday morning, working off from the 1000 metres with a companion and running home his last 400 metres.
"We will basically cruise in to Saturday’s race from here," Eurell said.
Australia’s reigning champion sprinter, Apache Cat was going for his sixth Group One win a row in the Patinack Farm Classic on November 8 and finished eighth to Swick.
Eurell could not explain the poor Flemington performance but is bullish about a form reversal on Saturday.
"I couldn’t ask for anything better leading in to this race," Eurell said.
"He is rock hard fit, in a good frame of mind and has settled in good over there.
"Knowing the quality of the horse that he is, I am expecting him to kick back and carry on where he left off last season.
"If he gets beaten it will very disappointing and I will be dumbfounded again."
Eurell said Apache Cat needed an outstanding performance to be worthy of running in the Hong Kong Sprint.
"He would have win or run a very, very close second to sanction the trip to Hong Kong," Eurell said.
By Robert Windmill