Imperatriz - 10x Group 1 Champion Retired

Date: 11 Apr 2024

It is with very mixed emotions that Te Akau Racing announces the retirement of our star mare and champion, Imperatriz.

Currently Imperatriz is rated as the No.1 sprinter in the world and No.2 overall on TRC Global Rankings.

In 2023, Imperatriz won more Group 1 races (6) than any other horse in the world!

Her 2023/24 season has also been nothing short of stellar … with five Group 1 victories in Australia, taking her career tally to ten elite titles. She also recorded a Group 2 win in Australia where she set a new track record, and at her next start broke the very record she had just set.

Imperatriz also became the first horse to ever win the MVRC Group 1 Sprint Triple Crown - effectively twice - in both a calendar year (2023) and a racing season (2023/24).

Winning both starts as a two-year-old, including the Group 2 Eclipse Stakes, Imperatriz won two Group 1’s over a mile at three to be named New Zealand’s Champion Three-Year-Old. She then added three Group 1’s as a four-year-old to claim the title of New Zealand’s Champion Sprinter/Miler, and in more recent times has made her mark trans-Tasman, lauded by many commentators as the best sprinter in Australia.

She set track records at Moonee Valley, then conquered the Flemington straight with Group 1 wins in both the Champions’ Sprint and the Black Caviar Lightning Handicap, the second highest rated sprint race in the world (2023 IFHA).

“Imperatriz has been a magnificent race mare, I loved her from the time I set eyes on her at the Magic Millions’ sale. What she has done since has firmly established her as one of the very best race mares Australasia has seen in recent times,” said David Ellis CNZM.

“From a filly that was the last to sell as a yearling, she became a Champion racehorse and when Karyn and I saw her win her second Group 1 William Reid at Moonee Valley last month, we couldn’t believe the crowd’s adulation for her, The Valley was a sea of tangerine,” Te Akau’s David Ellis CNZM said.

“Her tenacity, courage and sheer determination, combined with the sweetest nature you could imagine, have certainly won the hearts of fans worldwide. The joy she has brought to her owners is indescribable.”

Imperatriz won 19 of her 27 starts, including 10 of 13 since 1 January last year, and nearly NZ$7.6 million in prize money.

Last weekend, Imperatriz returned home to New Zealand, for a well-deserved break at Te Akau Stud. On her arrival, she underwent an in-depth veterinary ‘warrant of fitness’ to assess her well-being before spelling. Regrettably, these evaluations have led to the difficult but necessary decision to retire her from racing.

“Te Akau always puts the well-being of our horses first. The indications are that another high-level racing preparation would not be in her best interests, so whilst sad, the decision is very straightforward. Her welfare is our top priority, and she will retire a happy and sound horse,” David Ellis CNZM said.

Purchased by Ellis from the Magic Millions’ sale for A$360,000 (from the draft of Brim Thoroughbreds), Imperatriz is trained by Te Akau’s Mark Walker and Sam Bergerson, and has dominated the racing scene this season.

“Imperatriz was simply an incredible race horse - her determination and will to win was supreme. She has been remarkable flag bearer for Te Akau’s new Australian stable and we will be forever indebted to her. It has been such a privilege to train Berri, and she’s been an absolute pleasure by every measure,” said co-trainer Mark Walker.

We extend our deepest gratitude to her whole ‘family’ that simply adores her: her owners, Te Akau’s Stable and Stud teams in New Zealand and Cranbourne, with special mention to Te Akau Australia assistant trainer Ben Gleeson, her devoted strapper Jason Levin and track work rider Laura Winks - also Te Akau stable rider Opie Bosson ONZM who forged such a successful partnership with Berri.

As Imperatriz embarks on this new chapter, we reflect on her indelible legacy. We eagerly anticipate following her progeny and witnessing what the future holds. While her racing days have drawn to a close and the curtain has fallen, her spirit will continue to inspire and resonate with all who had the privilege of witnessing her greatness.

“She's a Berri, Berri good mare, and one that will we forever treasure.”


For further information contact:

David Ellis CNZM
Te Akau Racing
+64 21 925151
[email protected]

Karyn Fenton-Ellis MNZM
Te Akau Racing
+64 21 598161
[email protected]

In addition to her racing exploits, Imperatriz has an exemplary pedigree to match.

Progeny by reigning Australian Champion Sire I Am Invincible (Invincible Spirit), who rose from an initial fee of $11,000 to now stand for $302,500, have been incredibly well sought after and, rightly, remain so. He leaves such athletic and sound horses, represented by over 100 individual stakes' winners.

Her dam sire Shamardal (Giant’s Causeway) left over 40 Group One winners worldwide and a sire of the highest class (previously third in the TRC Global World Sire Rankings) that is having incredible success now as a broodmare sire, while grand-dam sire Encosta de Lago (Fairy King) is a multiple champion sire, with over 50 Group One winners worldwide, and Champion Broodmare Sire in Australia. He is regarded as one of the greatest Australian-bred sires of all time.

Imperatriz carries a cross of immortal sire Northern Dancer, on the sire line of I Am Invincible and sire line of grand-dam Percussive (Encosta de Lago).
  • 1st - A$3,000,000 GROUP 1 Darley Champions' Sprint WFA 1200m
  • 1st - A$1,000,000 GROUP 1 Black Caviar Lightning Stakes WFA 1000m
  • 1st - A$2,000,000 GROUP 1 Ladbrokes' Manikato Stakes WFA 1200m
  • 1st - A$1,000,000 GROUP 1 William Reid Stakes 3YO+UP WFA 1200m (twice - 2023 & 2024)
  • 1st - A$750,000 GROUP 1 Charter Keck Cramer Moir Stakes 3YO+ WFA 1000m (broke own track record)
  • 1st - $300,000 GROUP 1 Sistema Railway Opn SW+P 1200m
  • 1st - $300,000 GROUP 1 BCD Group Sprint WFA 1400m
  • 1st - $260,000 GROUP 1 Levin Classic 3YO SW 1600m
  • 1st - $220,000 GROUP 1 Fiber Fresh NZ Thoroughbred Breeders' Stakes WFA F&M 1600
  • 1st - A$300,000 GROUP 2 McEwen Stakes WFA 1000m (track record)
  • 1st - $180,000 GROUP 2 Westbury Classic F&M SW+P 1400m
  • 1st - $120,000 GROUP 2 Waikato Stud Foxbridge Plate WFA 1200m
  • 1st - $100,000 GROUP 2 Eclipse Stakes 2YO SW 1200m
  • 1st - $80,000 GROUP 3 Northland Breeders' Stakes 3YO SW 1200m
  • 1st - $80,000 GROUP 3 Soliloquy Stakes 3YOF SW 1400m

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