Apache chasing Haradasun's scalp
By Robert Windmill aapracing
Apache Cat will be on the warpath when he has a showdown with glamour four-year-old Haradasun in Saturday's Group Three Bletchingly Stakes at Caulfield.
Trainer Greg Eurell said the baldy-faced chestnut had his chance to turn the tables on the $45 million entire who twice beat Apache Cat in the autumn, in the George Ryder Stakes and Doncaster Handicap.
"There will be a battle on there tomorrow," Eurell said.
"Haradasun is a quality horse but our bloke is a tough street fighter and he won't lie down.
"It will be an interesting race and I wouldn't discount him beating Haradasun."
Bookmakers have the Bletchingly as a two-horse race with Haradasun resuming as odds-on favourite with TAB Sportsbet at $1.70 ahead of Apache Cat, who is also first-up, at $2.90.
Apache Cat gave Haradasun three kilos when beaten less than a length when third to him in the Ryder and gave him an extra kilo when beaten two lengths into fifth place in the Doncaster.
Both horses will carry 58.5kg at weight-for-age tomorrow and Eurell couldn't be happier with Apache Cat who is a noted first-up performer.
"I am happy in the fact that we will be racing each other at level weights," Eurell said.
"Haradasun has had the upper hand on us both times we've met but my bloke is in great order and I am happy for him to meet Haradasun under these conditions.
"If Apache Cat beats him then I would say he deserved it."
Trainer Tony Vasil said Haradasun had furnished into a beautiful horse but believed he was under the odds at $1.60.
"I think Apache Cat is the horse to beat," Vasil said.
"He's a terrific horse and even though we beat him in Sydney on two occasions, one race was over 1500 metres and one was over 1600 metres.
"He (Apache Cat) is probably harder to beat over 1200 metres."
Vasil said Haradasun, who has won six of his 10 starts, was fit and ready to race but he hasn't got him wound up with the Cox Plate still nearly 2-1/2 months away.
"Obviously tomorrow isn't the be-all and end-all of everything," Vasil said.
"There is improvement in him.
"His target this preparation is the Cox Plate and whatever he wins on the way is a bonus."
Michael Rodd will have his first ride on Apache Cat tomorrow while Damien Oliver, who rode Apache Cat in both the Ryder and the Doncaster, will start a spring commitment with Haradasun.
Both Haradasun and Apache Cat will head to the Liston Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield in two weeks but are likely to go on separate paths after the Makybe Stakes (1600m) at Flemington on September 8.
Eurell said Apache Cat had to be convincing at 1600 metres for the Cox Plate to become a serious target.
"He would have to change a little bit in himself," Eurell said.
"It would depend on how he raced over 1600 metres whether he would give us the confidence to stretch him out in distance again."
Apache Cat has won nine of his 22 starts but failed at his only two attempts at 2000 metres last spring when seventh in the Turnbull Stakes and seventh to Fields of Omagh in the Cox Plate.
The Group One Toorak Hcp (1600m) and the Group One Emirates Stakes (1600m) are among his spring targets.