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Tuesday, 5th December 2017

Persian Empire (Savabeel-Persian Dynasty, by O'Reilly) is likely to return home for a tilt at the Gr1 New Zealand Derby in March, reports NZ Racing Desk. The Victorian-based New Zealand-bred colt is being set for the classic by his expatriate Kiwi trainers Trent Busuttin and Natalie Young who went close to winning last season. They sent Rising Red over from their Cranbourne base to finish runner-up to Gingernuts. Persian Empire carries the colours of Ultra Thoroughbreds principal Sean Buckley and has a win and three placings from five appearances, including a narrow defeat at Moonee Valley last Friday night in his first run over ground. "He's gone to the paddock for a freshen-up and the plan is to get him over for the Derby," Ultra Thoroughbreds general manager Toby Koenig said. "He still does a few things wrong and if he had settled a bit better on Friday he may have had that final kick to win, but he's still lightly-raced and improving." Koenig said the early part of Persian Empire's preparation had been anything but smooth sailing. "He's been a bit of a troublemaker and when we got him back here after the sales he cut a foot quite badly and was in a cast," Koenig said. "Then at the beginning of this preparation he got loose and cut his tongue badly and we had to work him on the treadmill, we couldn't put the bit in his mouth so there's a lot of improvement in him yet." Persian Empire is out of the unraced O'Reilly mare Persian Dynasty, a half-sister to Gr1 Rosehill Guineas winner Zabrasive.

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