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Australian Racing: The Empire ready to end win drought

There are three meetings scheduled to take place on Tuesday with Newcastle, Bairnsdale and Rockhampton all set to race.

Race 7 Newcastle

The Empire @ 7.50

Race 2 Bairnsdale

Proof Of Purchase @ 5.50

Race 1 Rockhampton

Acres Away @ 2.50

Empire to rule at Newcastle

The seventh race at Newcastle is an interesting 1200m Benchmark 68 handicap due to take place on a good 4 track.

Matthew Smith sends out Divine Vicky here and she is expected to jump as favourite having shown good form so far in her career.

The filly has registered two wins and three placed efforts from six starts to date, with her most recent success coming over 1100m in a Class 2 handicap at Scone three starts back.

The four-year-old was beaten less than two lengths at Warwick Farm when sixth in her only unplaced effort subsequently, while she performed well when runner-up in a metro event last time out.

That latest effort saw her beaten three lengths in a Benchmark 72 handicap over 1100m and, while she rates highly having run well here in the past, preference is for THE EMPIRE.

The gelding is without a win since saluting in a 1300m Benchmark 64 handicap on a wet track at Warwick Farm back in June 2021, but he has delivered a number of good efforts in defeat since.

The 7.50 six-year-old was beaten less than a length in his first two starts this spell, including when half-a-length fourth over 1250m in a Benchmark 64 handicap here first up.

The drop back to 1200m here should prove no issue, having finished fourth and fifth in 1400m Benchmark 64 handicap events at Kembla Grange on his two most recent starts.

Trainer Nathan Doyle has his horses in good form and jockey Tyler Schiller can help him improve on his 21% strike-rate (15/71) at this venue in the last 12 months.

Purchase backed to break maiden

Bairnsdale are set to stage a competitive eight-race card, with the second race of the day a 1200m maiden contest.

A good 4 track is expected, with Juelene expected to prove popular with punters, having registered a number of good efforts in defeat so far this spell.

The most recent of those saw her finish runner-up over 1100m at Sale at the end of October.

While a fair fifth over this trip when racing from the front at Pakenham followed, she looks opposable with a wide barrier a negative in this contest.

Trainer Phillip Stokes sends out PROOF OF PURCHASE here, with the filly having shown ability in all three starts to date.

The latest of those saw the three-year-old finish just over five lengths behind the winner when sixth over 1203m in a maiden on a good 3 track at Kyneton earlier this month.

Prior to that the 5.50 selection had placed third when tackling a soft 5 track in a 1200m set weights maiden at Seymour.

The application of blinkers here should sharpen the pick up and, with a good barrier five from the rail, she is taken to break her maiden at the fourth attempt.

Acres to gallop Away for victory

The opener at Rockhampton is a 1050m Benchmark 70 handicap, with the three-year-old ACRES AWAY taken to deliver a victory against his older rivals.

The gelding debuted with a near two-length victory in an 1100m maiden at Mackay in February and he has gone on to register three victories subsequently.

The most recent of those saw him take out a 1200m Benchmark 70 handicap on a soft 5 track at Eagle Farm in early August.

The 2.50 son of Top Echelon was spelled by trainer Tom Smith following a third in a 1350m Benchmark 70 handicap at Doomben later that month and should have no issues with the drop in trip here.

The selection prepped for this with a half-length second in a barrier trial here earlier this month and he looks up to saluting under Leslie Tilley.

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