Trainer Mick Price has confirmed he will throw in a 2014 Caulfield Guineas nomination on Tuesday for his up-and-coming colt Nordic Empire following their weekend win at Moonee Valley.
But the October 11 feature could be on the agenda after their first-up Melbourne win on Saturday.
Making their three-year-old debut on the back of a lengthy seven month spell where they spent time recovering from a hamstring injury, Nordic Empire went out as the $5 favourite in the $80,000 Mitchelton Wines Handicap (1000m).
Ridden by Craig Newitt for their return they carried the 58kg well and were able to beat home Stingray ($15) by one and three quarter lengths.
“He jumped from the gates well and put himself in a nice spot and even though they ran at a nice tempo, he was nice and relaxed,” Newitt said post-win.
“When I asked him pick it up from the 450, he was really strong.”
The Robbie Laing-trained Boomwaa ($6.50), last seen running fourth to Zululand in the Group 2 VRC Sires’ Produce Stakes (1400m) on the back of a Blue Diamond fifth in the autumn, was then just a short-head away again in third.
“I thought he was pretty good,” Price said of Nordic Empire on Saturday.
“I’m relieved to get over today. I don’t know what I was worried about.
“The race worked out perfect for us, with the leader we had something to follow and the seas parted at the top of the straight too, so it was very good.
“But still, he had to hit the line and after eight months (out) and I think there’s improvement to come in the horse. I hope he goes just as well second up.”
A winner at Caulfield on debut last November Nordic Empire hadn’t raced since a third when blocked for a run at Canterbury over 1200m on December 28.
Injury stopped them from returning during the autumn but after their win at the Valley Price is happy with his decision to give them the time to recover fully.
Last week Price said that on the back of their perfect trials leading up to Saturday he was confident the horse would run well, but that they would only have to run third or fourth to meet his expectations.
Nordic Empire then surpassed those expectations and has now booked a run in the $150,000 Group 3 Vain Stakes (1100m) Saturday week, August 16, at Caulfield Racecourse.
Price will also nominate them when early entries close on Tuesday for the 2014 Caulfield Guineas, but is skeptical about their chances of getting a mile.
“I think I’ll throw a Caulfield Guineas nom in in case, but I actually think he’s a sprinter – 1200, that’s it (for him) – so that will be his go, those sort of races,” Price said.
If that proves true then a better Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival aim for the three-year-old could then be the $1 million Group 1 Coolmore Stud Stakes (1200m) at Flemington on November 1.
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