Of course, Apache Cat did have his kryptonite. It was the sun. Because of his white markings, Eurell found the horse was a target for sunburn, so would shelter the horse from the rays and when he was out in the sun, he took to applying a sunscreen.
“In the summer we used to put cream on his nose so he wouldn’t get too sunburnt. He came up with a couple of red patches on his nose as his skin colour meant he was very sensitive to the sun. It was one of the few things we had to worry about with him.”
Once Apache Cat started racking up the victories along the east coast, support for the horse grew. “He had a big fan club,” Eurell explained. “We got lots of letters and emails with people wishing him well all the time. There’s a bar at the casino in Brisbane and I think it’s just wall-to-wall photos of him.”
“I think the most memorable time we had with Apache was when he won his second Doomben 10,000,” Eurell said. “He was such a favourite with the crowd.”
All good things must come to an end though, and so it did for Apache Cat after the Hong Kong Sprint in December 2009 and was brought back to Australia.
These days, Apache Cat is still turning heads as a 14-year-old. The winner of 19 races and more than $4.5 million in prizemoney is one of the great attractions at Living Legends – an open-to-the-public retirement home just north of Melbourne for some of racing’s finest thoroughbreds.
“I’ve been out there to see him at Living Legends and he certainly has got a good life,” Eurell said. “He gets around to plenty of places. He’s covered the east coast of Australia again in his retirement but it’s been terrific for him because I think it keeps a bit of interest there, and the old boy certainly loves it.”
Eurell has had many other good horses since Apache Cat, including the Cox Plate winner Pinker Pinker. He says he is always looking out for the next champion but said he never expects to get another horse like Apache Cat.
“Lightning doesn’t usually strike twice so if I get anything close to him, I’d be the luckiest bloke in the world,” he said. “He was a great horse. The way he looks and the name that they gave him and the character that he was all came together to make one fantastic horse that just everyone loved.”
Visit Apache Cat for more information.