Empire Bay is ready to rumble
Come Sunday, there will be a load of interest in Race 10 - the Class 3 event to be run over the 1,400m trip. And while it is going to be difficult plucking one from the pack to win the race, one thing is certain. You will get a good, honest run from EMPIRE BAY.
The four-year-old bay gelding (right) from Michael Freedman's yard showed that he was up to the challenge of meeting and duelling with the likes of Indian Jade, Terminator, Gato Negro, Brilliant Deal and Captivate when he turned in a sparkling gallop on the training track.
Sent over the 600m, he clocked 39.3sec for the trip.
Empire Bay is a four-time winner from 23 starts but his last win was some eight months ago. That's a long time to go without saluting the judge but, in his defence, his recent runs have all been against sterling opposition.
On March 30 he ran fourth to the then-unbeaten Cordoba. He was beaten by less than a length. In March 2 he went down by a length to Cheetah On Fire in a Kranji Stakes C race. That was the last of a string of thirds.
While some will be more confident having a go on him if he were in Class 4, the son of Iffraaj has won once and placed second twice in Class 3.
Indeed, it was around this time last year that he fell short on two occasions over the 1,200m, first, to to Speed Demon and then to Shaolin Soldier. Both were Class 3 races.
He dusted off those defeats and, six months later, beat a Class 3 field with a pillar-to-post performance over the 1,400m on the turf. He goes over that same trip on Sunday. I say, on the strength of his work yesterday, he should be up there trading blows with the best.
WORKOUTS BY HORSES RUNNING ON SUNDAY
RACE 1: Von Snitzel★★ (C Brown) 40.6. Wairakei 34.5. Fiscal Wings★★ (L Allpress) 39.5. Arapuni (R Rueven) canter/39.5. Iro Otoko★★ (KB Soo) 40.1. Zac Command★★ (M Nunes) 39.5.
RACE 2: Assertive Lad canter/36.3. Big Bang King★★ (M Kellady) 36.8. Just Name It 37.8. Prince Of Seville 39.8. Ruapehu★★ (J Powell) canter/38.3.
RACE 3: Flight Ofthe Saker 37.8. Profound★★ (D Beasley) canter/38.3. Marea Negro (A Munro) 37.5.
RACE 4: Dragon Perk★★ (K Toh) 39.4. In The Frame★★ (J Saimee) with Moon Of Neptune (Brown) 36.2.
RACE 5: Clutha Lad canter/36.3. Golden Lark★★ 35.5. Daad's The Way★★ canter/35.8. Gods Speed 39.2.
RACE 6: Super Shadow★★★ (S Noh) 37.2. Prince Mag (Allpress) 35.8. Jonathan 38.4.
RACE 7: More Than Worthy★★ canter/37.8. Over Easy★★ 36.5. North Star (M Zaki) 37.5. Atiamuri canter/38.5.
RACE 8: What Now★★★ with Tenzing★★ 37.3. Sir Lovesalot★★★ 39.4. Matterhorn 38.8. Holy Warrior★★ 39.5. Totality★★ (Allpress) 38.5.
RACE 9: Ballet Dancer★★ (D Flores) 38.8. Lady Power (Zaki) 44.8.
RACE 10: Magical Talent★★ (Brown) canter/37.3. Indian Jade (Nunes) 37.2. Empire Bay★★★ 39.3. Brilliant Deal (Munro) 40.3.
RACE 11: Oriental Pearl★★ (M Airy) 39.1. All Serene 36.5. Palombaro★★ 37.5. Danger Money★★ 38.5.
RACE 12: Single Act★★ 39.9. Hakamgong canter/35.9. Kate's Keeper (Andy) canter/40.9. Splice★★ 38.1. Atelier Libre 36.7. Kaiser Bright★★ (Zaki) 37.2. Vitalico (Shafiq) 38.9.
WORKOUTS BY HORSES RUNNING TOMORROW
RACE 3: Rock Esprit★★ (B Vorster) 41.2.
RACE 5: Yes Baba★★ (Andy) 45.2. What's Dat 38.1.
RACE 8: Emperor's Banquet★★★ (Vorster) 40.4.
RACE 9: Vertical Start★★ (T See) 38.3.