Getting a genuine, uncontested superstar of a racehorse in your barn like Australia has in the shape of baldy-faced phenomenon Apache Cat (Lion Cavern--Tennessee Blaze, by Whiskey Road ) is like, well, getting a Big Brown just when global racing most needs a hero.
And this was showcased rather profoundly in Queensland May 24 with Apache Cat absolutely trouncing his rivals in the Doomben 10,000 (Aus-I). He won by nearly five lengths, easing down over the last half furlong and creating Australian racing history by being the first horse in over 50 years to have won five group I races in succession.
The last horse to do it was the legendary Tulloch back in the late 1950s, and the all-time record rests with Bernborough, who won seven group I races in succession in 1946.
"That was his best win. He was never going to lose," said rider Corey Brown to trainer Greg Eurell as he dismounted. Apache Cat came back to scale with a huge wreath of flowers draped over his neck, and he looked as fresh as a daisy.
"He'll have two runs in the spring including the group I Age Classic down the straight six at Flemington, and then it will be time to take on the world and show everyone just how special this sprinter is,” said Eurell. “We'll take him overseas for the Hong Kong Sprint (HK-I) to start with."
The Hong Kong Sprint will be run at Sha Tin in December.
"After Hong Kong there's a genuine chance he may go to Europe next year especially after what we've seen what Takeover Target has consistently been able to do internationally," Eurell said.
Sadly for his connections, 5-year-old Apache Cat is a gelding. But this Doomben win has taken his purse earnings just past $3.3 million (about U.S.$3.2 million) from 16 wins and six placings. He’s had 30 starts.
Second home was the 3-year-old colt Murtajill (Rock Of Gibraltar—Skating, by At Talaq), who tried to lead throughout. The group III winner will not go to stud this year, and instead will come back to try and win a group I race after placing in several of them.
Murtajill's trainer, Tim Martin, had no excuses for the colt's defeat but is looking forward to the Stradbroke Handicap (Aus-I) in two weeks.
"The winner was just too good,” he said. “We drop five kilos in the Stradbroke, and I think he's looking for 7 furlongs now.”
Turffontein, a 3-year-old colt by Johannesburg, came from near to last on the home bend to grab third a further half-length away.