Past Winners » Empire Of Dirt


Empire Of Dirt likes to race prominently, and that is a positive.  He has been a generally unfortunate horse.  If he had been a little luckier, he could have won four of his last six races instead of just one of them.

He was disappointing in the Paddy Power Chase last time, and that is a little bit of a worry, back at Leopardstown, but you can forgive a horse a poor run in such a competitive handicap on really testing ground.  Also, he was held up out the back that day by his amateur rider, he missed the kick, and that was not ideal for a horse who likes to race prominently.  He finished second in a handicap hurdle at Leopardstown two years ago, trying to give 5lb to the winner Zabana, so he shouldn’t have an issue with the track.

If you ignore his Paddy Power run, which you easily can, he has a real chance.  He would surely have gone close in the Troytown Chase had he not fallen at the third last fence, and he was unlucky to catch the revelation that was Sumos Novios in a good two-mile-six-furlong handicap chase at Punchestown in early December that is a good pointer to this race.   Also, trainer Colm Murphy had a good winner at Fairyhouse last Sunday.

Bryan Cooper has chosen Killer Crow instead of him, but, while that is understandable, there can’t have been much in it, and it is always difficult for the Gigginstown rider to choose between Gigginstown horses from different yards in these handicap chases.  The fact that the owner’s rider has rejected him has probably added a couple of points at least to Empire Of Dirt’s price, and Jonathan Moore is very good value for his 7lb claim.

It means that Empire Of Dirt effectively gets to race off a handicap rating of 126 today, and that gives him a big chance.  He won a big novices’ handicap chase at Naas last February off a mark of 125.

The drop down to two miles and five furlongs is not a negative, it could be a positive, he travels well in his races and he has plenty of pace.  This could be close to optimal for him, two miles and five furlongs on soft ground at a stiff track, and ridden aggressively.