Western Empire

Could it be over before it starts

The Group 2 Schweppes-W.A.T.C. Derby appears over before it even starts according to many punters, with Western Empire looking for four victories in a row and opening at $1.35 for the 2400m event.  

His dominance has been obvious to everyone who has watched the lead up races and jockey William Pike is looking for his tenth victory in the race since its commencement in 2006.  

Trying to find a horse to beat the short-priced favourite is a task with Outback Jack the only other runner in single figures.  

He has the winkers on, a new jockey on, but still needs to make up a length and meets Western Empire worse at the weights by 3kg from last start.  

When looking at the fillies, the stable mate of Western Empire, Reliable Star, will be hoping to turn around a disappointing performance in the Group 3 WA Oaks and recapture her form from the Listed Natasha Stakes which saw her get within 1.5 length of Solaia.  

Temptacion for trainer Dan Morton has blossomed this preparation, she won two easier races before her solid performance in the Oaks which saw her finish in third, beaten less than a length.  

Lunar Impact surprised everyone when winning the Oaks at $51, but punters believe that was a one-off performance.  

Western Empire drew barrier 10 of 10, but it certainly appears his race to lose.