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  • Writer's pictureJohn Curtis


MONDAY: February 26, 2024: HAWKESBURY trainer Tommy Wong won’t mind taking Desi Emperor back to Mudgee anytime soon if there is a suitable race.

“He likes the track,” Wong said this morning of his four-year-old, who has now won both his starts there.

Irrespective, Wong, who has eight horses in work, produced a fine performance of his own to have the “bargain buy” ready to score first-up over 1200m in the Benchmark 74 Showcase Plate at his first start in three months.

Given a perfect run by jockey Grant Buckley, who had the gelding away smartly and then settled him in third place on the fence, well supported Desi Emperor ($7) stretched out strongly in the centre of the track in the straight to win with authority.

He beat Driving Force ($7) by a little more than a widening one and a half lengths to post the fifth victory of his 20-start career, and boost his earnings to a tidy $113,570.

Not bad at all considering he cost only $3000 as a yearling.

By the same sire (Kobayashi) as talented Gosford sprinter Our Kobison, Desi Emperor had not raced since November 23 when a close fourth in a Benchmark 64 Handicap (1500m) at Newcastle.

“I gave him a break after that race, and whilst he didn’t trial, he had a jumpout at Hawkesbury the week before last,” Wong said.

“Desi Emperor ran second over 900m at Newcastle earlier in his career.

“Because he can race up on the pace, I gave him a good chance yesterday.”

Desi Emperor’s five wins have been between 1200m and 1600m, and Wong feels the latter is his maximum distance.

“I tried him unsuccessfully a couple of times beyond 1600m, and feel he is best around 1400m-1600m.”

Desi Emperor’s previous Mudgee win came in a Class 1 Handicap (1600m) in April last year when also off a break, albeit a much shorter one than the latest.

The horse he beat that day, Musical Affair, ran a cracking race at yesterday’s meeting, giving a bold front-running display at $18 in the Country Championships Qualifier (1400m) before being collared in the last few strides by Lockdown Gamble ($4.80).

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