Imperatriz Very Impressive

Date: 6 Aug 2022

Imperatriz Very Impressive

A nominee for Champion Three-Year-Old, Imperatriz (4 m I Am Invincible - Berimbau, by Shamardal) resumed with a strong winning performance in the $35,000 Open 1100 metres on Saturday at Ruakaka.

The highly talented filly is among a winning hand for Te Akau in the coveted three-year-old prize, with Belle En Rouge (Burgundy) and Self Obsession (Shocking), who tied for New Zealand Bloodstock Filly of the Year, Sword of State (Snitzel), about to embark on a stallion career at Cambridge Stud, Noverre (Savabeel) heading to the stallion barn at Waikato Stud, and 1000 Guineas (Gr. 1, 1600m) winner The Perfect Pink (Savabeel).

Having ended her three-year-old season with consecutive Group One wins in the Levin Classic (Gr. 1, 1600m) and NZ Thoroughbred Breeders' Stakes (Gr. 1, 1600m), Imperatriz highlighted the trials with a classy victory on 17 July at Cambridge (poly-track), and appeared hardest to beat despite carrying 60kg.

In the race sponsored by Alibaba's Flying Carpets, the Kerikeri Cup, Imperatriz received a cosy trip for rider Opie Bosson, seventh on the inner, before angling clear four wide on straightening. She quickened to gain control inside the final 200m and although second placed Dragon Leap (Pierro) narrowed the margin late, victory was assured.

Remarkably, after debutante Stonybreck (Tavistock) set a track record whilst becoming the first winner for the stable this season on Wednesday at Cambridge, Imperatriz, too, created a new record over 1100 metres in 1:03.1 and held firm in betting to return $1.90 & $1.30.

“She wasn't that cleanly away from the barriers, but received a lovely run through approaching the home turn and it was a good win,” said trainer Mark Walker

“It was a good effort to carry 60-kilos, especially for a mare, considering they get an allowance in most races, and she gave away a lot of weight to a very good horse that finished second.

“It's funny, over 1100 or 1200 metres it seems they can carry weight but once they get up in distance it can stop them. She's a competitor, that's for sure.

“I think that will tidy her up nicely and all going well she will head to the Foxbridge Plate (27 Aug.) at Te Rapa.”



Boasting a terrific pedigree, Imperatriz included the Eclipse Stakes (Gr. 2, 1200m) when winning both starts as a two-year-old, while at three she ended her campaign with back-to-back Group One victories.

Purchased by David Ellis CNZM at the Gold Coast Yearling Sale 2020, from the draft of Bhima Thoroughbreds, and owned by Te Akau Invincible Empress Racing Partnership (Mgr: Karyn Fenton-Ellis MNZM), Imperatriz lives up to the 'empress' title from which her name translates.

By Champion Australian Sire (wins) I Am Invincible (Invincible Spirit), dam sire Shamardal (Giant's Causeway), who died in 2020, had progeny win 46 Group One races while also leaving his mark as an exceptional broodmare sire.

Now the winner of eight from 11, Imperatriz has added immensely to her value with two Group Ones alongside a Group Two and two Group Three victories.

“It's a great start to the season for the stable, getting two early wins and two track records, it's just incredible,” Ellis said.

“Stonybreck winning on Wednesday at Cambridge, we don't believe a first starter has ever broken a track record in New Zealand. We bought him for $20,000 out of Book 1 at Karaka, from Pencarrow Stud, and he's a very promising son of Tavistock.

“And to follow-up with this classy mare setting another track record is extraordinary.

“She's obviously come up really well this time in, after beating the older mares by five lengths in a Group One at the end of her campaign, and it's a credit to Hunter Durrant and Laura McNab who run the Uni Barn at Matamata and with their team, Imperatriz has been beautifully looked after.

“She's one of the best mares that Te Akau has had and is putting together the record of a really good horse, it's exciting for the owners.

“We've had a very wet winter and everyone has done a great job getting the horses ready in what have been horrendous conditions.

“The 1100 metres is a lot shorter than her best distance, but it shows the class that she has.

“She'll definitely go to Australia, but like we did when we won the Empire Rose Stakes (Gr. 1, 1600m) with Melody Belle at Flemington, Imperatriz will likely run in the first two legs of the Triple Crown at Hastings, so that when she arrives in Australia she's ready to go.

“Opie (Bosson) hasn't ridden a winner this early in the season for a long time and it just shows his commitment. He's been riding a lot of work at Matamata, and he'll get his weight right down as we get into the spring and summer.”

Ellis also had some enlightening news about the team, saying: “Hunter (Durrant) is going take our spring horses down to be based at Riccarton, leading up to Cup Week in November, and we also welcome back two of our very best people in Scott Lucock and Ashley Handley, who was NZ Stablehand of the Year last season.”

Imperatriz was strapped by Sam Bergerson.


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