The Empire reigns at Warwick Farm

Newly gelded three-year-old The Empire has continued his progression through the grades with a strong three length success at Warwick Farm on Monday.


The well bred son of Not A Single Doubt contested the Bowerman’s Furniture Benchmark 64 3YO Handicap (1300m) at Warwick Farm on Monday following a victory at Newcastle the start prior.


The three-year-old handled the stronger company with minimal fuss, working forward to lead the seven runner field throughout for a three length success.


It was a convincing result by The Empire whose best win prior to this prep was a Benchmark 58 success at country level.


Winning trainer Gary Portelli puts the improvement down to the difficult decision of gelding the $210,000 2019 Inglis Easter Sale purchase


“That was very good,” Portelli said.


“Scott Darby (Darby Racing) and the team bought him from the Easter Sales a year and a half ago. He was a well bred colt he was but unfortunately he was needing gelding.


“Now he has come back and has won two of three. It goes to show you how you can improve these horses. Everyone wants to keep colts and you’ve got to make a decision about whether you want a racehorse. That decision has been made and here he is winning easily in town.


“Six months ago if you’d asked me could he win a race in town by three (lengths), I probably would of said no. We tried to keep him as a colt as long as we could but he wasn’t going to win the races he needed to go to stud.”


The Empire is still early in his campaign with Monday’s victory coming third run from a spell.


Portelli is hopeful the wins continue as the gelding heads deeper into his winter campaign with getting out to a mile also a possibility.


“He is progressing and he has got a fantastic pedigree, he is closely related to Snitzel,” Portelli said.


“We’ve just going to concentrate on keeping him winning. He handled the wet track today which is a positive going into this time of year. I think he gets out to a mile soon.”


The win also provided the first leg of a race to race double for apprentice rider Reece Jones who claimed the next event on the card aboard the John Thompson-trained filly Kibosh.


“What a ride from Reece, what a young talent he is,” Portelli said.


“During the winter months you often see these apprentices go to a new level.”

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