First winner by Wilander

Nordic Empire registered the first win for former Cornerstone Stud resident Wilander at Caulfield on Saturday.

The Mick Price trained colt will now be set for the $2 million Magic Millions 2YO Classic (1200m) on the Gold Coast in January.

Nordic Empire (2c Wilander – Brown Limestone by Rustic Amber) was always well-placed in the Flemington Equine Clinic Plate (1000m) and ran out a convincing winner from Zulu Land (Fastnet Rock) and My Lucky Strike (Charge Forward).

“He has a few things still to learn,” Price said.  “But he’s athletic and a real natural two-year-old type with improvement to come.”

A $75,000 graduate of Tosca Farm’s draft at the 2013 Adelaide Magic Millions, he is a younger half-brother to the multiple winners Bianconic (Bianconi) and Old Worlde (Alannan).

“He’s a really neat two-year-old,” winning jockey Damien Oliver said.  “He’s progressing nicely and the owners are going to have a lot of fun with him.”

Wilander (Exceed And Excel) was trained by Lee Freedman for Sheikh Mohammed and was a stakes winner of the G3 Blue Diamond Prelude and G2 Schillaci Stakes.

A half-brother to the dam of Black Caviar, he was considered a prized acquisition for Cornerstone Stud but proved sub-fertile with only 20 of his first 55 mares getting in foal.

Subsequently gelded, Wilander returned to training but failed to fire in four starts for trainers David Hayes and David Jolly.