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  • Writer's pictureJohn Curtis


SATURDAY: January 21, 2023: THE season is not quite half way through, but it’s already Tommy Wong’s best in more than a decade.

The Hawkesbury trainer doesn’t have big numbers – he currently has eight in his team – but Desi Emperor’s victory at Canberra yesterday was his fifth since August 1.

That equalled the five winners he prepared back in 2011-12 when he had 27 starters during that entire season.

Desi Emperor was Wong’s 17th starter so far this season, and the three-year-old’s performance in the Class 1 Plate (1600m) was full of grit to notch his second win in a row.

Blake Spriggs rode him when he broke through in a 1500m Maiden Plate at Muswellbrook on January 3, and was in the saddle again yesterday.

Desi Emperor ($4) was momentarily put off stride when bumped by the leader Arch Of Titus ($6.50) on the home turn, but recovered and hit the front, then gamely held off Spitfire ($4.20) and How Do You Sleep ($4.40).

A son of Kobayashi from an unraced Artie Schiller mare, Desi Emperor cost only $3000 when purchased online in May 2021 as a yearling, and Wong sent him to Ballina trainer Daiki Chujo to break him in.

The gelding had four starts as a two-year-old, including a placing at Scone, before being spelled and brought back as an early three-year-old when runner-up over 900m at Newcastle last October.

“I put winkers on him and he won a trial easily at Hawkesbury before resuming at Newcastle,” Wong said today.

“I left them on for his three starts over shorter courses, but took them off when I began to step him up in distance.

“He was more educated and focused and didn’t need them.”

Now that Desi Emperor is relishing longer distances, Wong will look for a suitable race in an attempt to clinch a hat-trick.

“The jockey (Blake Spriggs) feels he will run further, and hopefully I can find another 1600m race or even 1800m for him next,” Wong said.

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