The ‘Empire’ will strike again
The best gallops from yesterday morning
The last time Rise Of Empire went to the races, he took no prisoners, romping home by almost two lengths in a "Restricted" event for two- and three-year-olds.
Actually, he bullied his rivals into submission, taking the lead from the get-go and never giving the rest of the gang a look-in.
It was a dominant show from a galloper who is going places.
And the thing which should scare the opposition in Friday's Class 4 Division 2 sprint is the fact that he's holding that winning form.
Indeed, he might even be better than the horse we saw on Jan 12.
Taken out for some work at Kranji yesterday morning, Rise Of Empire ran the 600m in 39.7sec. Vlad Duric was in the plate and they had stablemate Gentlemen Agreement (Matthew Kellady) for company.
The latter was also in good form.
Formerly with Leticia Dragon, Gentlemen Agreement was unlucky at his last start. He was beaten on the line by, well, On Line, after a ding-dong tussle over the concluding 150m of the 1,400m race on grass.
It was truly a gallant effort by Gentlemen Agreement, who was obliged to race wide for most of the trip.
It was a year ago that Gentlemen Agreement opened his Kranji account and, six months later, he added a second win to his resume.
On his performance last time out and, coupled with yesterday's gallop, trainer Shane Baertschiger will produce Gentlemen Agreement in the mounting yard looking hard as a brick.
Back to Rise Of Empire, now he's a horse who could have a brilliant 2020.
Still a three-year-old, he already has an envious record of a win and two seconds. And the thing which should scare his rivals is that he's hardly the finished product.
Indeed, it could easily have been three from three.
After all, he was beaten only by a head on debut and, in the second race start, he was mowed down late by Buuraq who charged home to get the verdict by a nostril.
That was in November. Sent to the trials on Jan 2, he won that one - beating Revolution by half a length.
With all things as right as they could be, Baertschiger sent him back to the races and the rest, as they say, is history.
Another one who caught the eye on the training track was Bear Witness.
He had Duric on the reins when running the 600m in 37.8sec and, on that showing, he must be given a big chance in that Class 5 Division 1 sprint on Sunday.
From Stephen Gray's yard, Bear Witness had a brilliant start to his racing career - winning two and placing twice in his first five starts.
But all that was in 2017. Then, just as quickly, he seemed to flat-line. But he seemed resuscitated at his last effort on Jan 12.
That day he ran a gutsy race. Everything that could have gone wrong, went wrong for him. Short of being hit on the head with a crowbar, he had everything else happen to him.
He was blocked. He was tightened. He was checked.
Yet he came home to run second. Just for taking all that punishment, he deserves a victory.