Imperatriz! Most Group 1's in the World 2023!

Date: 29 Oct 2023

Imperatriz! Most Group 1's in the World 2023!


Continuing her rise to stardom, Imperatriz (5 m I Am Invincible – Berimbau, by Shamardal) recorded a seventh Group One victory in the A$2 million Ladbrokes Manikato Stakes (Gr. 1, 1200m) on Saturday at Moonee Valley, Melbourne.

She comes the first horse ever to complete the Group 1 Triple Crown at Moonee Valley and has won more Group 1 races in 2023 (5) than any other thoroughbred in the world!


The star sprinting mare in Australasia, Imperatriz took an immediate liking to the Strath Ayr surface when winning the A$1 million William Reid Stakes (Gr. 1, 1200m), followed with back-to-back track records over 1000 metres in the McEwen Stakes (Gr. 2, 1000m) and Moir Stakes (Gr. 1, 1000 metres), and she has now made it four in a row.

With Te Akau stable rider Opie Bosson in the saddle, and backed as unbeatable ($1.20), Imperatriz sprang from barrier four to lead, strode out beautifully before having her rivals off the nickel at the 400m and romped clear to win by three and a quarter lengths untouched. 


In a race won by some of the greats, she made it look like a track gallop.

“She does it for you and she’s something special,” said Bosson, following his 93rd Group One success.

“I’ve never ridden a horse that can just switch off and then go bang when you want her, so more to come I think.

“It wasn’t the plan to lead, but she was there, more than comfortable and she changed legs at all the right times.”

On Good3 footing, Imperatriz ran 1200 metres in 1:09.5, last 600m in 34.2. 

“That’s the genius of Opie, she jumped so well so why give away that advantage and I think she had it in the bag a long way from home, really,” said trainer Mark Walker.

“It’s been great for the ownership group, who were so understanding about not going to Sydney (Everest) and we’re thinking about her longevity.

“It’s a big thrill and I think this mare is keeping Opie in the saddle, as well, and he’s such an important part of our team.”

It was also a great thrill for Te Akau Australia Assistant Trainer Ben Gleeson (pictured below with Imperatriz on Group 1 Moir Stakes' night), who left the same position with a leading Melbourne trainer to join Te Akau, and helped set up the training base for the team at Cranbourne.



“I’m so proud and privileged to be working with a horse like this, especially with Te Akau as well,” he said. 

“I’ve been fortunate to work with some fantastic horses over the years, but never a sprinter like this and she is a superstar.”

Gleeson was also praiseworthy of Melbourne based Kiwi jockey Michael Dee, who was aboard for her resuming victory in the McEwen Stakes. 

“Mick (Dee) has been massive in riding her track gallops and giving us good feedback and certainly giving us the confidence that she was on track,” Gleeson added.

“She’s been nothing but a pleasure between runs. She bounced out of her last track record run and she’s only needed a couple of easy gallops, so onwards and upwards to the Champion Sprint.”

The A$3 million Champions Sprint (Gr. 1, 1200m) is raced during Melbourne Cup Week, on Saturday 11 November at Flemington.



It was the 144th stakes win for Walker, his 11th Group One since resuming at the helm on 1 April last year, and third with co-trainer Sam Bergerson following Skew Wiff (Savabeel) in the Tarzino Trophy (Gr. 1, 1400m) on 9 September at Hastings, and the Moir Stakes (Gr. 1, 1000 metres) by Imperatriz.

Imperatriz has now won 16 of her 22 starts and over NZ$3.8 million in prize money.

Purchased for $360,000 by David Ellis CNZM at the Gold Coast Yearling Sale 2020, from the draft of Bhima Thoroughbreds, Imperatriz is owned by Te Akau Invincible Empress Racing Partnership (Mgr: Karyn Fenton-Ellis MNZM). She is pictured below as a yearling at the time of her purchase.



“It’s a dream for every owner to have a Champion, and Berri's owners are experiencing and living it with one of the very best,” Ellis said.

“She’s officially won more Group One races (5) than any other horse in the world this year, and the only horse in history to win the Triple Crown of Group One sprints: William Reid, Moir, and Manikato, in a the same year at Moonee Valley. 

“We put a lot of time and effort into selecting and buying the best horses we can, with the realistic knowledge that they’re not all going to be champs, but we’ve certainly had our share with the likes of Darci Brahma, Princess Coup, Melody Belle, Avantage, Probabeel, and this mare, among over 40 Group One winners of 80-plus Group One races.

“It’s an incredible thrill for me, Karyn, all our team, and most of all for the owners. And it’s great for New Zealand racing to be flying the flag high on Cox Plate Day. 

“To have had Imperatriz and Sword of State, two Group One winners, come from a sale when we only bought six in total is reassuring that our buying model is working, and we’ll be trying again at the Ready to Run Sale next month at Karaka, too.”

Champion Two-Year-Old, Group 1 winner Sword of State (Snitzel) is now serving his second season at Cambridge Stud.

Winner last season of the Sistema Railway (Gr. 1, 1200m) and BCD Sprint (Gr. 1, 1400m) in New Zealand, before finishing second in the Canterbury Stakes (Gr. 1, 1300m) at Randwick, and winning the weight-for-age $1m William Reid Stakes (Gr. 1, 1200m) at Moonee Valley, Imperatriz has added the McEwen Stakes (Gr. 2, 1000m), Moir Stakes (Gr. 1, 1000 metres), and Manikato Stakes (Gr. 1, 1200m) in three starts this season. 

She was an unbeaten two-year-old, including the Eclipse Stakes (Gr. 2, 1200m), and she then won the Levin Classic (Gr. 1, 1600m) and NZ Thoroughbred Breeders’ Stakes (Gr. 1, 1600m) to claim her Champion 3YO of the Year crown, and now won seven Group One races.

Scoring her seventh Group One win, Imperatriz moved into the realms of former stable-mates Darci Brahma (Danehill) who won five Group One races, including one in Australia as a 2YO and was named Champion 2YO of the Year, Champion 3YO of the Year and Champion Sprinter/Miler of the Year as a 4YO; Probabeel (Savabeel) who won her four Group Ones in Australia, while crowned dual New Zealand Horse of the Year; Avantage (Fastnet Rock), the winner of nine Group One races and Champion 2YO of the Year, and another dual New Zealand Horse of the Year, Melody Belle (Commands), who surpassed Sunline (Desert Sun) with 14 Group One wins (one in Australia) to become the NZ record-holder of Group One races.

Imperatriz was strapped by Jason Levin who joined Te Akau Australia when the stable at Cranbourne opened.  Jason also was honoured in Ladbrokes' "Moment of the Day", being awarded A$8,000 by the race's generous sponsor.


Photo credits: SENZ; Moonee Valley RC; Racenet


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