Trainer Greg Eurell says he couldn’t be happier with eight-time Group One winner Apache Cat ahead of his shot at redemption in Sunday’s Hong Kong Sprint 2009 at Sha Tin.
The baldy-faced star was odds-on favourite when third to Inspiration in the 1200m feature 12 months ago and, while getting on as a seven-year-old, Eurell says the gelding is “a bit fresher” for this year’s assignment.
“I think we’ll start to ease off him now, where he’s at in life, but I couldn’t be happier with him right now,” Eurell told the South China Morning Post.
“He is starting to get along a bit, and wear and tear sneaks into the equation, as it does with them all, and we are probably going to be more careful and selective about where we go after this.
“Last year he did quite a bit of travel to get here after we took him to Perth. He came back to Melbourne, a five-hour flight, then had to get on a plane again to come here.
“We thought about Perth this year, but the flight schedules didn’t allow for a run there and we considered the International Sprint Trial here, but it didn’t quite fit either.
“So he comes with a little gap between runs and a bit fresher, but that might be in his favour.
“I thought he had never looked better in his career than he did when he was here last year, so we’ve stuck to the same game plan and he has allowed us to do that – he’s just in great order.”
Eurell said Apache Cat, who hasn’t started since his close fourth to Sunday’s rival All Silent in the Group One 2009 Patinack Farm Classic (1200m) at Flemington on November 7, would just trot and canter leading up to the race after working on Tuesday.
“He was right on song when we left Australia and all he needs is a top-off. Everything is going to plan,” he told the paper.