4 Win Saturday - Imperatriz 4th Group 1 Glory

Date: 12 Feb 2023

4 Win Saturday - Imperatriz 4th Group 1 Glory


Reigning Champion Three-Year-Old Imperatriz (4 m I Am Invincible - Berimbau, by Shamardal) went to another level winning her fourth Group One race in the $300,000 BCD Group Sprint (Gr. 1, 1400m) on Legends Day at Te Rapa.


Her time (1:20.70) was the second fastest in the race, with Mrs Selleck (Famous Star) clocking 1:20.60 in 1992, while just outside the 1400-metre track record (1:20.42) set by Dopff (Tights) in 1993.

Imperatriz had been running phenomenal times not just in recent races, but also in track work, and the team was confident of success despite it being a Group One featuring, amongst others, four of the most highly rated mares in the country. 

She had found plenty when running the fastest last 600m (33.1) on the day to win the Sistema Railway (Gr. 1, 1200m) on 1 January at Te Rapa, and the fastest again (33.8) winning the Westbury Classic (Gr. 2, 1400m) on 21 January at Pukekohe, while the win left her unbeaten in five starts on the course - all stakes' races. 

As expected from barrier one, Imperatriz was able to box seat behind the leader but once rider Opie Bosson let the breaks go she sprinted clear (alongside a riderless horse) to win by four and half lengths, in a race where stable-mate and reigning Champion Two-Year-Old Maven Belle (Burgundy) finished fourth. 

“She was never going to get beat,” said Bosson, who collected his 89th Group One victory. “It felt like I was in a race by myself and there was no one near me or around me. 

“It was over at the 600-metre mark, the splits just kept coming and I had a lapful of horse. 

“She just went through her gears and she's awesome to sit on. She's very, very good and when she's on her A-game there's not much that can beat her.

“It was a very good field and I'm just lucky David (Ellis) buys all these good horses for us to ride and it's a privilege to be a stable rider for them.

“I like to thank the boss, David Ellis. He keeps me on the straight and narrow, keeps me fit, and I enjoy riding Group One winners to repay him.”

Having been announced as an inductee to the New Zealand Racing Hall of Fame, Bosson added: “It's an achievement I always wanted when I started out riding and to be recognised for my deeds on the track is quite good.” 

On footing upgraded to Good3, Imperatriz ran 1400 metres in 1:20.7, last 600m in 34.1, and as favourite returned $2.20 & $1.30 on the TAB tote. 

“When the loose horse was out there you're a little bit mindful of what was going on, but she's the real deal,” said trainer Mark Walker, who celebrated his 1000th domestic win during the week.

“I'd love to get her Australia in this form and hopefully we can get a Group One there. 

“We've trained her a little bit different;y this time, went back to basics and kept the riders off her back a little bit more, and Opie's got such confidence in her. 

“He rode in five race days in a row and I asked him to come out and work her and he didn't hesitate, so full credit to Opie as well.

“She's got a great record here, we were pretty confident coming in and she was just flying in her track work. And in her demeanour we were very happy with her.

“To all our team at the stud and the stables, everyone has been working so hard through this period and I thank each and every one of them.”

Imperatriz joined stable-mates Darci Brahma (Danehill), Avantage (Fastnet Rock), Melody Belle (Commands), Te Akau Shark (Rip Van Winkle), and Xtravagant (Pentire), to give Te Akau six wins the past eight years.

Asked to compare Imperatriz with Darci Brahma, Walker said: “It's very hard to compare horses. It's almost different eras but they're both very special horses, I think.”

Purchased for $360,000 by David Ellis CNZM at the Gold Coast Yearling Sale 2020, from the draft of Bhima Thoroughbreds, owned by Te Akau Invincible Empress Racing Partnership (Mgr: Karyn Fenton-Ellis MNZM), Imperatriz lives up to the empress title from which her name translates.

She has won 12 of 17 starts and topped $1 million in prize money.

On behalf of the owners, syndicate manager Karyn Fenton-Ellis said: “Congratulations to the owners, including club chairman John Elstob.

“What a huge honour it is to witness this mare doing what she does best, so professionally and also so elegantly.

“To have horses run in Group One races is a privilege; to win as many she has is a complete honour.

“She was selected as a yearling by David (Ellis) at the Magic Millions sales and, actually was the last yearling to sell in her year. You just never know where the next best horses will come from. 

“To Mark Walker and the team at Te Akau Racing Stables, we have a very talented and gifted team of horse people, thank you, and congratulations to Opie Bosson who gives us all a sense of calm and confidence when he is legged onto one of our horses.

“Thank you to Imperatriz' owners for giving us the opportunity of delivering the thrills with this mare.

“We are all so fortunate to have this course and club in the heart of the Waikato, and to sponsors BCD, we have been long-term partners and thank you for your continued support and especially this race which has an honour roll that speaks for itself.”

Imperatriz was strapped by Laura Macnab. 


Photo credit - www.raceimages.co.nz


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