On the Tuesday before the 2009 Doomben 10,000, Apache Cat was the very short priced favourite at about $2.50. But then something weird happened; trainer Greg Eurell took a regulation blood sample from Apache Cat and sent it to the local vet. Taking blood from a horse before a big race is very normal. The blood count can tell if the horse is completely healthy. As far as Greg knew, Apache Cat was fine.
Then Apache Cat started to drift in the market, from $2.50 to $3.00, then to $4.00. This should not happen if a terrific horse like Apache Cat is healthy. The blood count must have been a bit off and the vet maybe told someone and the rumour mill went into overdrive. Was Apache Cat sick and about to be scratched? Was he already on his way back to Melbourne? The list of rumours went on and on. Then Greg Eurell’s phone rang…
The vet told Eurell that Apache Cat’s blood was like nothing he had ever seen and he better go check if he was still alive! Now Eurell had the short price favourite in a $700,000 Group One race and one of the best horses in the country, and he was understandably devastated. Eurell bolted from his hotel in the middle of Brisbane to the stables at Eagle Farm (about a fifteen minute drive), then rushed into the stables only to see big Apache Cat standing happily in his stall without a worry in the world!
Eurell quickly rang the vet and said Apache Cat looked fine and there must have been some mistake. The vet quickly responded that if Apache Cat was still alive, his death was imminent and he needed urgent treatment. Eurell, by this stage was panicking again; he said to the vet he would ring him back in a minute, he just wanted to have another quick look at Apache Cat. Eurell turned and had a look at his horse, who was still standing there, staring at him, wondering what all the fuss was about. Apache Cat looked fine! So Eurell rings the vet back and explains that Apache Cat is still looking fine and maybe the vet should come down and look at him. The vet replied that he was busy, but Eurell could bring Apache Cat into the vet surgery if he wanted. By now Eurell was getting angry; he replied ‘mate, how I am supposed to get him into the vet; put a bloody lead on him and walk him down the street?!’ The vet replied ‘what, you walk your cat?’ Eurell fires backs with ‘what! Cat! He is a bloody horse!’ The vet stutters for a minute and explains to Eurell that on the blood canister, the label read ‘Apache the Cat.’
The vet thought Apache Cat was a cat! And the vet explained to Eurell that if a cat had equine blood, he would be running through tress! Greg Eurell had a good chuckle to himself and laughed when he answered the phone again. The vet explained that he had re-examined the blood and the HORSE would be fine! This four hour ordeal had doubled Apache Cat’s price, simply because of Eurell panicking and the vet maybe asking advice of others who knew Apache Cat was a horse! You can imagine the vet ringing a colleague and explaining that he was looking at the blood of Apache the Cat and the blood looked horrible! On race day, some people were obviously still a little sceptical because Apache Cat jumped at 5/2 ($3.50). Here is the race.
He of course won and it was a great win! And a great price!
By Zeb Armstrong