Imperatriz Rules Supreme - Again!

Date: 18 Feb 2024

Imperatriz Rules Supreme - Again!

Now declared one of the best sprinters on the planet, Imperatriz (5 m I Am Invincible – Berimbau, by Shamardal) resumed with a stunning victory in the A$1 million Black Caviar Lightning Stakes (Gr. 1, 1000m) on Saturday at Flemington.

Rising to the challenge when recording her eighth Group One victory in the A$3 million Darley Champions' Sprint (Gr. 1, 1200m) in November at Flemington, Imperatriz then spelled following her spectacular campaign of four straight wins, with additional successes, including back-to-back track records over 1000 metres in the McEwen Stakes (Gr. 2, 1000m) and Moir Stakes (Gr. 1, 1000 metres), before winning the Manikato Stakes (Gr. 1, 1200m).

The latest victory, her fifth Group One in Australia, surpassed the four Group One victories by former stable-mate and dual Horse of the Year Probabeel (Savabeel), while equalling the nine Group Ones by former stable-mate Avantage (Fastnet Rock).

Purchased by Te Akau principal David Ellis CNZM as a yearling at Karaka, as was Probabeel, and owned by Te Akau Avantage Syndicate (Mgr: Karyn Fenton-Ellis MNZM), Avantage won 16 of 28 races and $2.1 million in prize money before setting a world record $4.1 million when sold online through to Coolmore Australia, where she was foaled. 

In January this year, on day three of 2024 Gold Coast Yearling Sale, Ellis purchased the first foal out of Avantage, a filly by Wootton Bassett (Iffraaj), the sire of Almanzor, from the draft of Coolmore Stud.

“It’s incredible to see Imperatriz resume after a three-month spell with such a tough win, and reach some lofty milestones in the process,” Ellis said.

“It’s been well documented that she was the last yearling to sell in her year, so maybe we’ve still got the next Imperatriz in the paddock at Te Akau Stud.

“I thought it was a fantastic effort by all the team at our stables at Cranbourne (Victoria) to present her in peak condition following the spell. 

“So I take my hat off to Mark Walker and Ben Gleeson, and we’re very pleased that the new Australian arm of the stable is going so well.

“It’s a very busy time of the year for us, selling shares in yearlings that we bought in January on the Gold Coast and at Karaka, and to have an ambassador like Imperatriz is unbelievable, really.

“We’re welcoming a lot of new owners on board, while our loyal supporters are reinvesting, and it’s an exciting time to be racing thoroughbreds in this part of the world, which is the fastest growing, given the increases in prize money both here (NZ) and Australia.”

Purchased for A$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).

Imperatriz has now won 18 of her 24 starts, including nine of 10 since 1 January last year, and over NZ$6.3 million in prize money.

The win also edged stable rider Opie Bosson closer to achieving 100 Group Ones, as he notched his 97th.

Both horse and jockey were required to be at their best, as it appeared in earlier races that inside draws on the straight course may be disadvantageous.

Although the eight runners started in centre track, Bosson was still keen to get wider than the line of drawing barrier two and began swiftly in order to do so.

Shadowed in front by well supported Private Eye (Al Maher), the pair really knuckled down approaching the 200m before Imperatriz lifted to a winning advantage inside the last 80m. 

“She was always travelling beautifully and just kept creeping up,” Bosson said. “And I knew once I went for her late she would find the kick that she always has.

“Mark and Ben said she was 100 percent and when they say that you know they’re right.

“She changed legs at the right times and when I really had to go for her I knew she just had that little bit extra.

“She’s definitely the best horse I’ve ever ridden.”

On footing upgraded to Good3, Imperatriz ran 1000 metres in 57.5, last 600m in 32.5, and paid $1.60 & $1.10 on the NZ TAB tote. 

“Good horses they probably save their best for race day, and following a lacklustre trial, but when we galloped her on Monday we were really happy with her,” Walker said.

“It was a gun ride by Opie today. It was a really tactical affair and he used his initiative. 

“She’s just a gem, to do it in the spring and come back like that, and also full credit to the second horse. He’s a really good horse and he stuck it to her today. 

“I think you saw two good horses fight out an exciting finish.”

Imperatriz was strapped by Jason Levin. 

“It was a huge relief to see her do that, after she had worked well through all her pre-training and to see her do that was sensational,” Jason said.

“We’ve enjoyed having the camera crews and everybody coming through the stables, and we’re enjoying the whole ride.

“She means the world to me.”


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