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Another trip from South Australia to Victoria is on the cards for Group-winning sprinter Hard Empire

Another trip from South Australia to Victoria is on the cards for Group-winning sprinter Hard Empire.

Trained by Richard Jolly and his daughter Chantelle, Hard Empire is among 23 nominations for Saturday’s Group Three Sir John Monash Stakes (1100m) at Caulfield, with the plan for the gelding to travel from Adelaide later this week to run in the weight-for-age race.

“He’ll have a little hit-out in the morning and all going well he’ll head off on Thursday,” Richard Jolly said.

Hard Empire won the Group Three R N Irwin Stakes (1100m) at Morphettville in Adelaide first-up in April and finished fourth in the Group One Goodwood (1200m) at the same track two starts later.

His past two starts have been in Victoria where he finished ninth in the Golden Topaz at Swan Hill last month before a close sixth in an 1100m handicap up the straight at Flemington, won by Milwaukee.

Jolly believes things have not panned out to suit Hard Empire in those two races.

“He started off with the win in the Irwin and then he was a little bit disappointing second-up but he bounced back to run fourth in The Goodwood which was a really good run,” Jolly said.

“We then took him to Swan Hill and that just didn’t end up suiting him. He drew wide and they crawled early and he ended up outside the leader over-racing.

“He still wasn’t beaten far but we put a bit of a line through that run.”

The trainer said after Hard Empire jumped awkwardly at Flemington he ended up “in the wrong spot” on the inside of the field up the straight but he kept rallying late to be beaten just over half a length in a bunched finish.

“He looked like he was going to drop out of it and he ended up not getting beaten that far,” Jolly said.

“It wasn’t a bad run.

“We’re just hoping for a bit of rain. He likes the wet and there is a forecast for a bit of rain this week. Hopefully it drops at Caulfield.”

Caulfield was rated a Soft (5) on Monday.

Among the headline nominations is multiple stakes winner Jungle Edge whose connections will also be hoping for rain-affected going given the gelding’s affinity for the conditions.

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