Iffraaj Gelding Western Empire Another WA Derby Winner for Bob and Sandra Peters

Mark Smith - Saturday April 10

It may not have been worry-free; however, the odds-on favourite Western Empire did enough to win Saturday’s $400,000 Group II Schweppes - WATC Derby at Ascot

The son of Iffraaj (GB) didn’t take too kindly to being restrained by Willie Pike in the early stages. Once he settled down, Western Empire travelled sweetly before Pike eased him out to mount a challenge on the home turn.

Wester Empire at full stretch in WA Derby (image Western Racepix twitter)

The Grant and Alana Willimas-trained colt finished determinedly to hold the challenge of the All Too Hard filly Temptacion by three-quarters of a length with the Snippeton gelding Kerman Rock a long-head back in third.

It advanced the record of Western Empire to five wins, a second and three thirds from 10 starts with earnings of $581,050.

It was the ninth WA Derby in the last 11 years and the 11th overall for the Bob and Sandra Peters homebred.


“It didn’t look so good when he was pulling so hard and was wide early,” Bob Peters said.

“He has done a good job because he has been up a long time.

“If he had won the Challenge Stakes (back in February), he was booked on the plane on the Monday night to go to Melbourne for the Australian Guineas, which is a Group 1 worth a million dollars.

“He has made up for it a bit here, but he has had to do a lot of racing to get anywhere near what he possibly could have got over there.

“He will have a good spell now and we will bring him back for the Summer Carnival.”

A half-brother to the stakes-winner Western Temple (Dream Ahead), Western Empire is the best of four winners from five to race out of the Group II WATC Perth Cup winner Western Jewel (Jeune).

Western Jewel has an unraced 2yo gelded brother to Western Empire named Western Jewel and a weanling brother to the WA Derby winner.

The daughter of Jeune returned to Australia from New Zealand last year.  She was covered by Toronado (IRE) last spring.


Race Result - Schweppes - W.A.T.C. Derby Gr2 2400m

Ascot Track: Good(4) Time: 2:30.91
Western Empire
T: G & A Williams J: W Pike 56.5
3g Iffraaj (GB) x Western Jewel (AUS) (Jeune (GB))
T: D L Morton J: Chris Parnham 54.5
3f All Too Hard (AUS) x Fit And Ready (AUS) (More Than Ready (USA))
All Too Hard
MM Gold Coast Yearling Sale $300,000
V:Vinery Stud Scone NSW
B: Belmont Bloodstock Agency (FBAA)
Kerman Rock
T: C G Willis J: Lucy Warwick 56.5
3g Snippetson (AUS) x Brimarsco (AUS) (Encosta De Lago (AUS))
Reliable Star
T: G & A Williams J: P Carbery 54.5
3f Reliable Man (GB) x Miss Artistic (NZ) (Darci Brahma (NZ))
Lunar Impact
T: D R Harrison J: J Whiting 54.5
3f Real Impact (JPN) x Moonsong (AUS) (Redoute's Choice (AUS))
MM Perth Yearling Sale Book 1 $62,500
V:Western Breeders Alliance
B: Bridge Patrol Lodge Pty Ltd
MM National Weanling Sale $26,000
V:Newhaven Park Boorowa NSW
B: Westbury Park
Brave Angel
T: Simon Miller J: B Parnham 54.5
3f Tavistock (NZ) x Svita (AUS) (Success Express (USA))
T: Brett Pope J: C Johnston-Porter 54.5
3f All American (AUS) x Phormium (AUS) (Xaar (GB))
Flash Ducati
T: M L Lane J: B Rawiller 56.5
3g Blackfriars (AUS) x Miss Ducati (AUS) (Speed Week (AUS))
Fear The Wind
T: D & B Pearce J: Jordan Turner 56.5
3g Fiorente (IRE) x Windana (AUS) (Danehill (USA))
MM Perth Yearling Sale Book 2 $50,000
V:Lynward Park Stud Bullsbrook WA
B: Jason Ferguson
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