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  • Writer's pictureJohn Curtis


SUNDAY: October 8, 2023: PRICE doesn’t always matter!

Hawkesbury trainer Tommy Wong clinched his first winner of the season at Kembla Grange yesterday with a $3000 yearling buy, defeating the favored runner who cost $200,000 when sold in New Zealand.

Ridden by Grant Buckley, Desi Emperor ($8.50) clung on gamely to hold off $3 favorite The Englishman in the Benchmark 64 Handicap (1600m).

The unplaced brigade included second favorite Matusalem ($3.20), who cost $500,000 and beat only one runner home in the nine-horse field after sporting blinkers for the first time and over-racing.

Having his third run from a break, four-year-old Desi Emperor notched his fourth victory, lifting his earnings to nearly $90,000.

A nice return indeed on the meagre amount he brought online in May 2021.

“Desi Emperor’s original owner moved from Hong Kong to England, so I race the horse with some friends,” Wong said today.

“Three of his four wins have been at 1600m and the other at 1500m.

“He just got home yesterday, and I don’t think I will try him beyond that distance.”

Desi Emperor is a son of dual Caulfield winner Kobayashi (by I Am Invincible) from the unraced Artie Schiller mare A Little Blessed, and is her second foal.

He was initially listed for sale at the Gold Coast National yearling sale in 2021, but was withdrawn before subsequently changing hands online.

Wong is coming off his best ever season, preparing eight winners in 2022-23 with only a small team.

“I rent boxes at Hawkesbury, and can’t have any more than eight in work,” he explained.

“But I’ve got a farm at Grose Wold, and can give my horses a good foundation there before bringing them in to the stables.”

Wong’s success with Desi Emperor was the Hawkesbury training base’s 34th winner so far this season.

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