'Empire' ready to strike back
The best from the training track yesterday
The last time Rise Of Empire went to the races, he was thought to be well placed to run a good race. However, things didn't turn out his way.
Obliged to race wide for most of the 1,200m trip on the grass, Rise Of Empire was left with too much to do and had to settle for second spot - behind the roughie, Resolution.
He gets another chance to show us just what he has in his preparation for Saturday's assignment.
Put through his paces on the training track yesterday morning, he showed good action.
Ridden by Matthew Kellady, he had stablemate Galaxy Star for company and they clocked 37.4sec for the 600m.
It was a good piece of work and both came away looking like they're ready for the weekend.
Back to Rise Of Empire, he has missed making the board just once in five starts.
He won on his third start, which was on Jan 12. It was a win full of merit.
It could be said that the win was coming, as Rise Of Empire had - in his two previous races - finished second by narrow margins.
As for Galaxy Star, he, too, has been filling up the till rather impressively.
Another one from Shane Baertschiger's yard, he was a winner on Jan 10.
Ridden by top apprentice jockey Simon Kok, he came from a long way back to beat Watch Out Boss by almost a length.
He was expected to double up at his next start, but things didn't go as planned and he had to settle for third behind Absolvido.
Then, in his next start on March 20, champion jockey Vlad Duric was entrusted with the task of bringing him home.
Alas, they found one to beat in Mr Alejandro.
Galaxy Star takes on a Class 4 (2) field over the 1,200m on Saturday. The race is over the long course, which suits the racing style of this son of Fastnet Rock.
Baertschiger, who has entered a small but compact field of just eight runners for Saturday's 14-race programme, has another solid winning chance with Mr Showman.
The four-year-old was also on the training track yesterday with Kellady doing the steering. He covered the 600m in 39.7sec.
A flashy type by Showcasing, Mr Showman made his racing debut three weeks ago, but the rain came and it spoilt the party.
Backed down to $12, Mr Showman looked mediocre, finishing sixth to Pattaya.
Kellady informed the stewards that he felt his mount didn't appreciate the wet conditions.
Mr Showman is better than that. He won two trials by a total of almost 11 lengths - clocking 59.82sec in that last hit-out on Aug 13. He's a major player in Saturday's Open Maiden sprint.