First season trainer Leticia Dragon landed her first “black type” victory when Rising Empire took out the $200,000, Group 3, Magic Millions Juvenile Championship over 1200m on Sunday.
Overcoming the second widest barrier draw, Rising Empire, ridden by champion jockey Joao Moreira, charged home to score by a head over Holy Empire (Alan Munro) with Super Good (Stephen Baster) a length-and-a-half away third.
Moreira rode an inspired race on Rising Empire. He dragged the gelding back in the early stages and had only three horses behind him on settling down which included Philanthropist which lost his rider Subramaniam Anandan soon after.
Rising Empire (Joao Moreira) comes charging home on the outside to fight out the finish with Holy Empire (Alan Munro) in the Magic Millions Juvenile Championship, picture Singapore Turf Club.
Turning for home for the long run in, Rising Empire was still well back and Moreira pulled the two-year-old out towards the centre of the track where the gelding unleashed a powerful finishing burst.
Super Kenny (Barend Vorster) led the field for home over Flag Of Command (Ivaldo Santana) and Golden Sand Steed (Saifudin Ismail).
Backing up after a winning on debut just seven days earlier, Super Kenny kicked but was soon under enormous pressure with Holy Empire issuing a challenge before Rising Emire chimed in and the pair staged a two horse war to the line.
Dragon went into the race knowing she had Rising Empire in top condition but worried about the barrier draw.
“I’m very excited. This is my first Group winner,” said Dragon who took over training from her father Douglas at the start of the year.
“I knew the horse was very well in himself but I lost confidence with the barrier draw on Wednesday.
“I said to Joao to ride him wherever he was comfortable and Joao rode him a great race.”
Dragon has 43 horses in her stable and Rising Empire came to her after having his first start for Brian Dean back in March, finishing second to Zeus Thunder.
“I always thought he had shown a lot of potential and he certainly showed it today,” said Dragon. “He’s going to get over a bit more ground as well on that win.”
Dragon paid a special thank-you to her “mentor”, her father Douglas, for his guidance and help since taking out her licence.
“Dad has been a big help,” she said. “He’s my mentor and my inspiration.
“He’s there keeping an eye on me and I’m able to pick his brain for ideas.”
Dragon senior, a man of few words, was a proud man to see his daughter in the winner’s circle for the first time in her brief career.
“I’m very proud of her,” he said. “She’s been doing very well. It is not an easy business to be in.”
Moreira heaped praise on Dragon, who along her father, were early supporters of his when he arrived from Brazil in 2009.
Trainer Leticia Dragon and jockey Joao Moreira pose proudly for a photo after their Magic Millions Juvenile Championship triumph with Risin Empire, picture Singapore Turf Club.
“She has been doing very well and knew what was required with this horse,” said Moreira who notched a winning double with the victory.
“It was never going to be easy winning from that barrier, but she had the horse in terrific order.
“We had to take a chance and get a trail behind them. He travelled well inside himself and when he started to speed up in the straight I thought he was a good chance of winning.”
One of the first to congratulate Dragon on her victory was rival trainer Shane Baertschiger who prepared the runner-up.
Also a training newcomer in 2012, Baertschiger was also looking for his first “black type” victory.
Purchased out of Melbourne for A$60,000 as a yearling, Rising Empire is by Dehere from the Flying Spur mare Chandon Rose, and took his prizemoney earnings to around $185,000 for the Empire Ninety Racing Stable.