Williams rules out Melbourne raid with Western Empire

Western Empire
Group 1 winner Western Empire. (Photo by Reg Ryan/Racing Photos)

Grant Williams has decided to abandon Melbourne spring carnival aspirations for Western Empire.

Initially aiming for the Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m) at Moonee Valley later this year, Williams has now opted to focus on sprint races in Perth for the horse.

Western Empire concluded his winter campaign over the weekend, finishing second to Let’s Galahvant in the Group 3 Strickland Stakes (2000m) at Belmont.

This marked his second consecutive defeat as the odds-on favourite, following a fourth-place finish to Magnificent Andy in the Group 3 Hyperion Stakes (1600m) two weeks prior.

“He won’t be travelling,” Williams told The Races WA regarding Western Empire’s Victorian campaign.

“His form was too good in the short races, so now we’ll train him for a Winterbottom and a Gold Rush.

“We’ll go back and keep him short; he blew them away in the 1300 metres and blew them away in the 1400 metres.

“For some reason, he’s dropped off the 1600 metres and 2000 metres.

“We’ll bring him in, give him two trials, give him two races, go bang, bang, and give him a break.

“If he comes back like he did and there are no issues, we can put him out again and save him for a Quokka.”

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