In form jockey Damien Oliver believes that Melbourne youngster Nordic Empire still has plenty of improvement left in him as he heads towards the $2m Magic Millions 2yo Classic (1200m) at the Gold Coast on Saturday.
The Mick Price trainer Nordic Empire scored on debut over 1000m at Caulfield on November 20 before over-racing on the tight Canterbury track when third to Invisible over 1200m on December 28.
Oliver is still reeling in the glory of winning his third Melbourne Cup on Fiorente during the Melbourne Spring Carnival by scoring a winning treble at Ascot in Perth on New Year’s Day, including the Group 2 $500,000 Golden River Developments Perth Cup (2400m) on Black Tycoon.
And Oliver will head to the Gold Coast to ride Nordic Empire after completing another winning treble at Caulfield last Saturday on The Wingman, Trust In A Gust and Initiator.
But Oliver will be focusing his attention on the Gold Coast this weekend and is looking forward to Nordic Empire improving with the experience of racing in the clockwise direction when third at Canterbury.
“I think he will take a bit out of that run,” Oliver told the Herald Sun.
“It is hard for Melbourne horses going to the Gold Coast. Sydney and Brisbane horses have an advantage because they are taught to race that way from the start.”
“But he is a nice galloper and he will be in with a chance. They slowed up a bit in front in Sydney and when they quickened he pulled back some ground. I don’t think they’ll be slowing in the Magic Millions and the more genuine pace should help.”
Oliver also expects the pace of the race in the Magic Millions to suit the Wilander colt better and is anticipating the sustained pressure in the hustle bustle scamper around the Gold Coast track to help carry his mount into the race at the right time.
Also in the betting is Nordic Empire’s stable mate Geromayo at $10 alongside of the Gold Coast trained Stroak, with I Am The General, Sagatona and one time favourite Oakleigh Girl all on the next line of betting at $11.