Cat claws his way back into contention

Apache Cat’s redeeming second to folk hero takeover Target in the Winterbottom Stakes has revived his chances in the International Sprint in Hong Kong.

Apache-Cat Trainer Greg Eurell had all but given up on taking Australia’s reigning sprint champion to the International meeting at Sha Tin on December 14 but changed his mind after Apache Cat ran Takeover Target to a nose in Saturday’s Group Two race in Perth.

Apache Cat put in an uncharacteristically poor run in the Patinack Farm Classic at Flemington on November 8 at his first start this season.

In the early part of the year he strung together five Group One victories in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane.

The six-year-old now heads to Hong Kong for the Sprint (1200m) as the highest rated horse in the race.

Time ran out for last year’s Sprint winner Sacred Kingdom to be ready for the race after he suffered a hairline sesamoid fracture in September.

Apache Cat will return to Melbourne on Monday and leave for Hong Kong the following day in the company of Douro Valley who will compete in the International Vase (2400m).

Douro Valley tuned up with a gallop between races at Moonee Valley on Saturday with Steven Arnold aboard.

"He is in good order and he is holding his form well," Arnold said.

"It was good solid work just to keep him ticking over and his fitness is good.

"Obviously the field will be strong in Hong Kong but he is a competitive horse so I wouldn’t be surprised to see him run well."

Darren Beadman has been booked to ride Douro Valley replacing regular partner James Winks.

In a shock move, Olivier Douleuze has been dumped from Good Ba Ba with Christophe Soumillon to ride the reigning Hong Kong champion in the International Mile.

Takeover Target will remain in Perth to contest the Scahill Stakes in two weeks before a decision is made whether he travels to New Zealand for the Group One Telegraph Handicap on January 17.