Eliza Park International graduate Aztec Empire completed a hat-trick for ‘Magic Man’ Joao Moreira at Sha Tin on Sunday.

Aztec Empire was a $42,000 buy for agent John Foote at the 2012 Inglis Melbourne Premier Sale and he stayed under the radar before transferring off-shore. Trainer Patrick Payne sent him around in 7 trials without winning as a three year-old.

The Victorian bred son of Choisir is owned by the St Joan Of Arc School syndicate and the half-length win in the Armada Hcp (1600m) on Sunday increased his Hong Kong earnings to the equivalent of AUD 206,685.

Aussie expat Brett Prebble had partnered the promising miler in his first two wins late last year but had to forgo the mount when the gelding jumped in class with a light weight. Despite his good form, trainer Chris So said it took some convincing to get Moreira aboard.

“We put him in a trial just for Joao and hoped he would then take the ride,” So said. “I was pretty confident the horse would win but now it’s going to get more difficult with his rating.”

Aztec Empire was bred Wayne Ross and Bronwyn Hawking at Cloverlea Farm in Euroa. His dam Costa Grande (Encosta de Lago) has also foaled Moonee Valley specialist Bel Shoes (Bel Esprit) and her latest is a 2yo colt by Chatswood’s sire Anacheeva.

Eliza Park International has the largest consignment among vendors for the upcoming Inglis Melbourne Premier Sale. There are 52 lots nominated including the first yearlings by its Group winning sprinter Squamosa.

EPI also has a colt by Aztec Empire’s sire Choisir from Rock Me Sweet (Lot 303) being offered as agent for Dorrington Farm. He is a half-brother to recent Moonee Valley winner Little Bita Spunk (Magnus).

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