Apache Cat gives Aussies strong hand It was Australia day at Sha Tin yesterday when the two Cathay Pacific Hong Kong International challengers turned in powerful gallops to emphatically announce their claims to a share of the HK$62 million prize money on Sunday. Douro Valley almost made the trees sway with his 1,200m workout on the course proper. The Group One winner of the Yalumba Stakes at Caulfield in October clocked 1:16.1, the last 400m in 23 seconds, wide out on the main track. Apache Cat, on the other hand, was kept to the all-weather track for a nice 800m breeze. He went effortlessly over the distance in 50.5 seconds, clocking a zippy 22.9 seconds for the final 400m without being pressured. Stable foreman Paul Kromis was on hand to watch the gallop of Douro Valley, with trainer Danny O'Brien not scheduled to hit town until tomorrow, along with his managing owner Kristen Manning. O'Brien expects Hong Kong Vase candidate Douro Valley will have one more gallop on Thursday, when he will be handled by Darren Beadman. However Apache Cat's trainer, Greg Eurell, was on the spot to run his expert eye over the baldy-faced chestnut and was pleased with what he saw. 'He had a good gallop which is what we wanted,' Eurell said. 'He's settled in so well here, I think he was looking forward to a bit of decent work.' Eurell reported the striking six-year-old hit the scales at 1,166 pounds on landing last week, but had put on condition in the past few days. 'He's 540 kilos [1,188 pounds] now and that's around his optimum racing weight. It's a good indicator with him. He was 538 kilos when he last raced in Western Australia. 'He's eating and drinking as you'd hope and I would say he has settled in very, very well.' Sprint runner Apache Cat will represent a comeback to Hong Kong for Corey Brown, with the popular lightweight jockey not having ridden here since being busted for cocaine use in March, 2006. Brown said he had already picked up 'five or six' other mounts at Sha Tin on Sunday for a variety of trainers. 'It's good to get back there and get a bit of support again,' he said. 'It should be a great day and a win by Apache Cat would really cap it off. He is the best-performed runner in the race, a genuine Group One performer.' Defending Vase champion Doctor Dino appeared to be happy to be back on familiar ground, and regular work rider Eric Gandon confirmed the horse's well-being after a strong canter. 'He likes it here, there were no problems with the transport and to look at him, I'd say he is in the same form now as last year when he won the race,' Gandon said. American challengers Kip Deville and Awesome Gemalso had routine canters on the dirt. The 2007 Breeders' Cup Mile winner, Kip Deville, looked well and connections are happy with the way he has adapted to going right handed on the track since his arrival.