Fallen Empire strikes back at Flemington

Dec 22, 2018

Fallen Empire delivered the ultimate Christmas gift for his patient owners with a wonderful comeback win at Flemington.

Fallen Empire broke his maiden at Donald in the autumn but an injury halted his promising career after three starts, keeping the son of Smart Missile off the scene for more than six months.

The four-year-old resumed with a strong third at Sandown on November 28 before running well again for another third placing at Flemington on December 15.

Fallen Empire pleased trainers Mathew Ellerton and Simon Zahra immensely with his recovery from his Flemington third that they decided run him again at the same venue seven days later.

Craig Williams gave Fallen Empire a terrific ride in the VRC Christmas Donation Appeal Trophy (1400m), letting the gelding find his feet in the second half of the field before bringing him with a well-timed run in the straight to cap his comeback with a win by three-quarters of a length.

“It has been a bit of a long road,” Zahra said. “He hurt his tendon at Donald and spent a lot of his time at Jayne Davies’ property.

“They have done a lot of work with him and just built him up nice and slow.

“It has been a long process but the owners have all stuck solid and it’s good to get a reward for them.”

Zahra said stepping up Fallen Empire to 1400m on a seven-day back-up was never an issue for the stable.

“He pulled up that well last Monday that we had no hesitation in backing him up,” Zahra said.

“We always thought he was a bit of a run-on sprinter and now that he’s got his fitness up after having so long off, he probably didn’t quite show that good turn of foot like he can but he’s doing everything we need him to do at this stage.

“It was only a (Benchmark) 64 today so we’ll just work him through his grades and have a bit of fun with him.”

Fallen Empire’s maiden city win was his second at his sixth start while his victory was the latest in Ellerton Zahra Racing’s terrific partnership with First Light Racing that also produced a Group 1 triumph in November when Aristia claimed the VRC Oaks (2500m).

Congratulations to Fallen Empire’s wonderfully patient group of owners and all involved with getting the exciting performer back to winning form.