Persian Empire set to reign in the NZ Derby

Persian Empire
Persian Empire (inside) narrowly goes down at Moonee Valley.

CONNECTIONS of the promising three-year-old Persian Empire are keen to send the horse home on a group one mission.

The Victorian-based son of Savabeel has been set for the New Zealand Derby, the March feature his expatriate Kiwi trainers Trent Busuttin and Natalie Young went close to winning last season.

The duo sent Rising Red over from their Cranbourne base to finish runner-up to Gingernuts.

Persian Empire carries the colours of Ultra Thoroughbreds principal Sean Buckley and has a win and three placings from five appearances, including a narrow defeat at Moonee Valley last Friday evening in his first run over ground.

“He’s gone to the paddock for a freshen-up and the plan is to get him over for the Derby,” Ultra Thoroughbreds general manager Toby Koenig said.

“He still does a few things wrong and if he had settled a bit better on Friday he may have had that final kick to win, but he’s still lightly-raced and improving.

“We might bring a couple over, Captain Jimmy is a possible and they could have a run in one of the three-year-old lead-ups.”

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Persian Empire was a $280,000 Karaka purchase from the 2016 draft of Haunui Farm, who will offer the horse’s half-brother (Lot 469) by Ocean Park during the Book 1 sale next year.

“He’s been a bit of a troublemaker and when we got him back here after the sales he cut a foot quite badly and was in a cast,” Koenig said.

“Then at the beginning of this preparation he got loose and cut his tongue badly and we had to work him on the treadmill, we couldn’t put the bit in his mouth so there’s a lot of improvement in him yet.”

Also trained by Busuttin and Young, Jimmy Choux’s son Captain Jimmy has won twice from four appearances. The horse was bought at last year’s Ready to Run Sale for $120,000 out of the Diamond Lodge draft.

Meanwhile, another exciting son of Savabeel sourced from Karaka has returned to Bjorn Baker’s Sydney stable.

Addictive Nature, a $775,000 Karaka purchase from Little Avondale Stud’s 2016 consignment, has won two of its four starts including the Group Three Ming Dynasty Quality.

“He will be on a path toward the Randwick Guineas,” part-owner Koenig said.

“He’s a serious horse and much bigger and stronger now.”