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Sherrin chasing another big payday with Apache

Having taken all before him in his career so far, Apache Chase will attempt to scale another mountain for his owner Michael Sherrin when he lines up in Queensland’s richest provincial race at Toowoomba on New Year’s Eve.

The Group 1 winner is one of three runners confirmed so far for the inaugural edition of the $750,000 Mort & Co. King Of The Mountain (1200m), and given his profile as the reigning Queensland Horse of the Year, Apache Chase has set the bar very high for the remaining slot holders.

With nine wins – highlighted by his victory in this year’s G1 Kingsford-Smith Cup (1300m) – and more than $2 million in the bank Apache Chase owes Sherrin nothing, particularly as he paid just $50,000 for the son of Better Than Ready at the 2019 Magic Millions Gold Coast March Yearling Sale.

But Sherrin would dearly love to become the first owner to get his hands on the shiny new King Of The Mountain Trophy, not least as he just missed out on winning another slot race earlier this year.

Apache Chase looked almost certain to justify favouritism and add The Archer, Rockhampton’s rich new race, to his bulging trophy cabinet – only to be run down in the shadows of the post by Emerald Kingdom.

That near-miss still stings Sherrin, and while it may be overstating the case to suggest he has redemption on his mind, it’s fair to say that victory in The King Of The Mountain would help to erase some painful memories.

“It would’ve been great to win The Archer, we thought we had the right horse in the right race and he looked home for all money, so that one definitely hurt a little bit,” said the 72-year-old, who also owns and runs the successful Sherrin Racing motorsport team.

“We were obviously disappointed but it’s history now and we’re very much looking forward to the King Of The Mountain. We had to pay a bit for the slot at the charity auction because we missed out on the original ballot, but I think he (Apache Chase) has got a great chance so I was very keen to be involved in the race.”

After finishing fourth in the lucrative The Hunter earlier this month, Apache Chase spent two weeks relaxing and sunning himself on Sherrin’s sprawling Sunshine Coast property.

The 5YO gelding returned to Desleigh Forster’s Eagle Farm stables at the end of last week and will only have one trial before his first-up assignment in the King Of The Mountain, where his opponents include two Sears Racing-trained sprinters in boom colt Steady Ready, a mightily impressive winner at the Gold Coast on Saturday, and Yellow Brick who completed a hat-trick of wins during the spring.

Apache Chase, who has been partnered by veteran jockey Jim Byrne in each of his past 16 starts, boasts an impressive first-up record and his one and only previous appearance at Toowoomba produced victory in the 2021 Listed Weetwood Handicap (1200m).

Depending on how he comes through the King Of The Mountain, the Magic Millions could be next on his agenda before a potential visit to the Dubai World Cup meeting for the Al Quoz Sprint (1200m).

“It’d be fantastic to go to Dubai with him,” said Sherrin, whose wife Terry-Ann is also a keen racing enthusiast.

“Every racehorse owner dreams of owning a horse good enough to compete on the world stage, so if he was to get an invitation to the race then we’d obviously be absolutely delighted.

“We thought from early on that we had something special on our hands. We only raced him a few times as a two-year-old because he was still growing and maturing, so we wanted to take our time with him.

“The advantage of having our own property here on the Sunshine Coast is that we can use it as a spelling paddock and give the young horses all the time they need to furnish and mature, and we could see him getting bigger and stronger in front of our eyes.

“We’ve also bred a couple of horses on the farm which we sent to Desleigh, Boom Court looks to have a bit of talent and we’re hoping Capital Chase can hit the ground running. But they’ve got a fair way to go to live up to Apache Chase!”


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