Imperatriz the Conqueress

Date: 12 Nov 2023

Imperatriz the Conqueress


Rising to the challenge, Imperatriz (5 m I Am Invincible – Berimbau, by Shamardal) recorded her eighth Group One victory in the $3m Darley Champions Sprint (Gr. 1, 1200m) on Saturday at Flemington.


The champion mare, hailed as the best sprinter in the world, matched Te Akau horses Probabeel (Savabeel), a dual Horse of the Year that also recorded four Group One wins in Australia, while closing in on the nine Group One wins by Avantage (Fastnet Rock) and 14 by national record-holder Melody Belle (Commands), another dual Horse of the Year for the stable.

In recent times, Imperatriz has been the queen of Moonee Valley, since winning the William Reid Stakes (Gr. 1, 1200m) in March and continuing with a hat-trick this season including back-to-back track records over 1000 metres in the McEwen Stakes (Gr. 2, 1000m) and Moir Stakes (Gr. 1, 1000 metres) and most recently winning the Manikato Stakes (Gr. 1, 1200m) on 28 October. 



Partnered again by stable rider Opie Bosson, Imperatriz received a gorgeous trip perched near the leader, was presented at the most opportune moment in the straight and again proved too classy over the concluding stages.

“It is right up there,” said Bosson, after notching his 94th Group One win. “Te Akau, David Ellis, Mark Walker, and the whole team, it’s a dream come true riding a horse like this.

“I probably got there (front) a bit soon. Geez, it’s a long way up that straight but to her credit she knuckled down and put her ears back. 

“We always knew she was really talented. She’s just getting better with age and she is the real deal and she has proven it now. Hopefully there is more to come for both of us.”

On Good4 footing, Imperatriz ran 1200 metres in 1:09.0, last 600m in 34.2, at her first course attempt, and paid $2.10 & $1.20 on the NZ TAB tote.

Trainer Mark Walker, who has prepared more than 1800 winners, including over 140 stakes' wins, summed it up succinctly, when saying: “It was a great win and she’s a superstar. She’s been incredible this time in and deserves a break.”

Imperatriz has now won 17 of her 23 starts and over NZ$5.3 million in prize money.



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).

“She really is racing incredibly and giving so many people an enormous amount of thrills,” said Ellis, from Christchurch.

“I’ve spent the day at Riccarton. It was a brilliant day of racing and Talisker (second) and Trobriand (fourth) did us proud in the 2000 Guineas and they’re both capable of winning big races, going forward. 

“It’s an industry that I’m so glad to be part of. It’s a lifetime of hard work and when you get a mare like Imperatriz it’s just incredible how many people it touches.

“I’ve just had a text from Laura Macnab, who rode Imperatriz in track work for us at Matamata, and now works in Newmarket (England). She said they stopped work to listen to the race.

“And for the owners who invest in this exciting industry, they put a hell of a lot of money into it and it’s incredible to see the thrill they get out of it when their horse wins.

“It’s not an easy industry and for all our staff, owners, and supporters, to get results like this makes all the hard work worthwhile.

“Ben Gleeson, Mark (Walker), and their team are doing such a good job for us at the new stables at Cranbourne. It’s very exciting. 

“There are so many members of the public that are over the moon with the win, too. I’ve got over 100 texts in the last hour from people that just love to see a New Zealand result like that. It’s good for the whole country.”



Ellis said his attentions now turn to the Ready to Run Sale on 22nd and 23rd November at Karaka, ahead of yearling sales early in the New Year in Australia and New Zealand.

“We’ll be working hard to try and buy some nice horses at the Ready to Run Sale,” Ellis said. “We had a winner (Savoir Faire) on Friday night in Australia that I bought at RTR, a really promising staying type of horse.

“Straight after the upcoming sale we’ll start inspecting yearlings in New Zealand and Australia, so it’s a busy time ahead for everyone involved.

“I work out in the gym everyday to be ready for this and I’m looking forward to it.”

Imperatriz was strapped by Jason Levin, who recently won the ‘Moment of the Day’ prize when Imperatriz took out the Manikato Stakes on Cox Plate Day at Moonee Valley, and an $8,000 cheque for strapping the mare.



“It was a huge effort again today and sensational ride by Opie,” he said.

“She deserved her favouritism, delivered really well and hat’s off to Opie and the mare.

“It was only a fortnight between runs and she didn’t have a lot of time to catch up, but she’s done another really good job.

“Each time she runs she just seems to improve that little bit more. 

“She’s put on weight the whole way through the preparation – just thriving. She is doing really well within herself, very happy, and it’s incredible that she keeps putting on weight despite running in huge, tough races.

“She pulls up enormous and just a real battler. She goes out of her way to try and please and help you. She’s a star.

“The owners are over the moon. They’ve been so nice and helpful to me and it’s an unbelievable story.”

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), Manikato Stakes (Gr. 1, 1200m), and Champions Sprint (Gr. 1, 1200m), in four starts this season. 

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


Sign up to our newsletter