Mick Price-trained Nordic Empire will tackle the Wyong and Gold Coast Magic Millions double after he made his racing debut with a strong win in the Flemington Equine Clinic Plate (1000m) at Caulfield on November 30.
Nordic Empire was forced to come wide around the final bend at Caulfield on Saturday and was challenged by My Lucky Strike and Shining Mane, with 200 metres left to run, but was too strong in the final stages of the race and pulled away to record a two lengths victory.
Price has always had a high opinion of Nordic Empire and, although he was happy with the performance, believes that the son of Wilander still has a bit to learn about racing and plenty of improvement in front of him.
“I thought he was good but he was a bit off and on and he has a few things still to learn,” Price told Racing Victoria after the race.
“I thought the end of the race was good where he showed a nice but of stamina and I think he beat the right horse too.
“He’s athletic, his knees are good, his shins are good and he’s a real natural two-year-old type with improvement to come.”
Nordic Empire is eligible for the Magic Millions, as well as the $500,000 bonus that is offered to horses that are raced by an all-female ownership team, and Price confirmed that the two-year-old would contest the Wyong Magic Millions Classic (1100m) on December 19 before heading to the Gold Coast for the Magic Millions Two-Year-Old Classic (1200m) on January 14.
The leading trainer said that Nordic Empire had recovered from his debut run well but he will still give the first-up winner a brief break in the paddock of his owners BC3 Thoroughbreds before he begins serious preparations for the Magic Millions.
“He’s about one out of five shin shore in one near front this morning,” Price said.
“I think there are areas of improvement in the horse because he is a bit light.
“I’d love to think he can win a Magic Millions but I’ve just got to construct six weeks of his program so I’m thinking he might go back down to BC3’s Grace Park for seven to 10 days to see if we can freshen him.”
Price is chasing his first win in the Magic Millions and will likely have at least two runners; with Geraymayo joining Nordic Empire in the field for the restricted event.