Trainer Mick Price has confirmed that Nordic Empire will return in the 2015 Magic Millions Classic at Ballarat on Saturday.
Nordic Empire has not been seen at the races since he was gelded after finishing fourth in the Canaccord Genuity Handicap (1200m) at Caulfield on May 2, but he showed that he was ready for a return to racing when he won a barrier trial over 800 metres at Cranbourne on November 9 in impressive fashion.
Price told Racing.com that he expects Nordic Empire to perform well first-up in the 2015 Ballarat Magic Millions and he revealed that the four-year-old will likely head towards the $1 million Magic Millions Sprint (1100m) at the Gold Coast on January 11.
“This is the new gelded version and we are happy with him,” Price said.
“It took us a while to put the weight on him, he is a very high nervous energy horse, but he will run well first-up.
“Then he will maybe have a run in Sydney and head to the Magic Millions.
“First-up he probably just needs to close in on the race and run in the first three or four to let us know that we are on the right track with him.”
Nordic Empire has shown a great deal of ability since he made his racing debut with a win in the Flemington Equine Clinic Plate (1000m) at Caulfield at the end of 2013 and he was placed in races like the Group 3 McNeil Stakes (1200m), but he was never able to string together a consistent run of form.
Price is hopeful that the gelding operation will turn Nordic Empire into a more genuine racehorse and help him live up to the undoubted potential that he has shown since he made his racing debut.
“I just want his manners right,” Price said.
“As an entire he was pretty inconsistent and it is hard to put your finger on those entires sometimes.
“Usually when you walk away asking after a race ‘is that horse fair dinkum’ then usually the answer is no.
“The problem with him is that he was finishing quite close to them, but he definitely wasn’t 100 percent genuine.
“He paid the ultimate price.”
The 2015 Magic Millions Classic nominations were released this morning and Nordic Empire is set to take on the likes of Husson Eagle, Illustrious Lad, Moonlight Hussler and Murt The Flirt in the $100,000 event.