Champions' Sprint Finale for Imperatriz

Date: 10 Nov 2023

Champions' Sprint Finale for Imperatriz


Richard Edmunds for (great publication, subscribe now) reports:


After dominating this year’s Moonee Valley sprints like no horse has before, superstar mare Imperatriz will head to different territory on Saturday in search of one last spring triumph.

The daughter of I Am Invincible will bring the curtain down on her extraordinary campaign in the A$3 million Gr. 1 Darley Champions Sprint at Flemington. She will attempt to deliver a second consecutive win in the race for a New Zealand sprinter, with Little Avondale’s remarkable chestnut mare Roch ’N’ Horse taking it out 12 months ago.

Imperatriz heads into Saturday’s race unbeaten in her last five appearances, all at Moonee Valley. She won the Gr. 1 William Reid Stakes in March, then returned as a five-year-old to scale even greater heights with brilliant performances in the Gr. 2 McEwen Stakes, Gr. 1 Moir Stakes and Gr. 1 Manikato Stakes. She became the first horse in history to win the William Reid, Moir and Manikato in a single calendar year.

Bought by David Ellis for A$360,000 as a yearling on the Gold Coast in 2020, Imperatriz has now earned more than $3.5 million from a 22-start career that has produced 16 wins including seven at Group One level. Five of those Group One victories have come this year alone.

“It’s been a phenomenal year and we’d love to see her cap it off with another big performance on Saturday,” said Mark Walker, who trains in partnership with Sam Bergerson.

“She was great in the Manikato, and touch wood, everything has gone really well with her since that race. We’re really looking forward to seeing what she can do on Saturday.”

While Imperatriz has been unstoppable in her four races at the unique and tight Moonee Valley circuit, she faces something very different in Saturday’s race down Flemington’s famous ‘straight six’.

“It’s going to be a different challenge for her,” Walker said. “We won’t know for sure that she’s going to handle it until we see her do it on raceday this weekend.

“But she has had one piece of work down that straight course and she seemed to gallop quite nicely that day, so we’re reasonably confident that she’ll be comfortable with it.”


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