The three-year-old daughter of Roman Emperor (NZ) displayed all of the qualities of a divine ruler at Goulburn on Friday 14th September 2017 when she shed her maiden status by winning the fourth race of the day, the Spring Carnival @ Glbn Book Now 3yo Maiden Handicap (1300 metres).
The declaration that a right royal performance would be forthcoming was made public after her first start on her home grounds at Hawkesbury. That day, HOLY EMPRESS was travelling at the rear of the field, some fourteen lengths from the lead early on, then flew home to just be beaten by the narrowest of margins.
After scrutinising her performance and noticing HOLY EMPRESS may have gotten her head up a little and possibly needed to focus on the job at hand a bit better, Scott donned his gear tinkering cap and as a result applied a nose roll prior to this start.
Goulburn’s racing surface was rated a Good 3, the day was fine and sunny with a chill in the air. Travis Block was declared as the rider, the filly was to carry 58kgs and jump from barrier seven out of eleven.
The stage was set … “ They’re Off ” … HOLY EMPRESS began nicely from her gate and the fact that there is a nice long run to the first corner, remained wide giving Travis the opportunity to consider his options. Horses inside of the duo had kicked up, resulting in a group of five runners vying for a forward position. After passing the 1200 metres marker, HOLY EMPRESS was eased to settle behind that leading bunch, still wide with plenty of galloping room.
Just on 400 metres later, Travis and his horse made a lightning move forward resulting in HOLY EMPRESS travelling three wide with no cover, to her inside were joint leaders, Chrissy’s Dream, also trained at Hawkesbury, and the Waterhouse - Bott trained Pyro.
Into the straight and heading for home, the jockey had confidence in his mount, she was getting along at a good tempo and Travis wasn’t fazed by having travelled wide for most of the race. With three hundred metres to run, HOLY EMPRESS still hadn’t been asked for a serious effort, content to maintain the current momentum, applying pressure on Pyro on her inside to improve.
A furlong out it was HOLY EMPRESS gaining the upper hand under more vigorous riding from Travis. Pyro was being hard ridden and Bondi Boy, trained by Richard Freedman, was coming home strongly.
The pair were now within a hundred and fifty metres of the winning post, the rider gave his horse one slap on the rump and that was all it took, HOLY EMPRESS responded in kind pulling away from the second horse with Bondi Boy still finishing full of gusto.
On the line HOLY EMPRESS held a winning margin of just over half a length to Bondi Boy with The Golden Hind (NZ) coming from last, rattling home, snaring third placing.
That was a very good performance from the filly, incidently she was bred by the late, great Bart Cummings. HOLY EMPRESS’s dam, Holy One is a grand daughter of All Grace (NZ) who in turn was Saintly’s dam.
Congratulation to the owners, trainer Scott, Simon Layton and also long-time friend Steph Carruthers. A huge thanks to Travis Block for all of his hard work at the stables and for a nice ride.
The future looks very promising for your horse here’s wishing you every good fortune and a little divine intervention wouldn’t go astray either.