New Year Cheer - Group 2 Winner Imperatriz

Date: 2 Jan 2021

New Year Cheer - Group 2 Winner Imperatriz

In arguably the strongest two-year-old field of the season so far, debutante winner Imperatriz (2 f I Am Invincible - Berimbau, by Shamardal) made it two from two in the $100,000 Barneswood Farm Eclipse Stakes (Gr. 2, 1200m) on 1 January at Ellerslie. 

Having defied challengers and Heavy10 footing when coming from off the pace to score on debut in the 2YO 1100 metres on 26 November at Otaki, Imperatriz was astutely given time (36 days) by trainer Jamie Richards, a move that resulted in a stakes' win, in race record time, at her second start.

Fifth early, chasing a torrid pace and five lengths 600m, Imperatriz went to the leaders easily at the 300m and remained unflinching in a duel with Stormy (Telperion) over the concluding stages.

Imperatriz had a head margin advantage at the line, while the pair distanced the remainder by four and a half lengths. 

“I was so looking forward to riding her today,” said Danielle Johnson. “I galloped her here a couple of weeks ago and she gave me such a good feel. She's progressed so much and taken it all in her stride. 

“She gives me the feel of such a good horse. Her sectionals from the 600m, she's picked them up so fast and it was just a matter of when I let her go. 

“The other horse came to her outside, but she dug deep and I knew she was never going to get beaten.

“I knew she would go well today and it's just so exciting. Te Akau just keeps producing these two-year-olds, and they're flying.”

On footing upgraded to Good3, she ran the 1200 metres in a slick 1:08.4, last 600m in 34.1, and notably drifted in betting to pay generously on the TAB tote ($12.00 & $3.70).

Although the outcome was somewhat of an upset, with her two stable-mates: Sword of State (Snitzel), third, and Avonallo (Belardo), fourth, each firmer in the market, Richards was unconcerned.

“I was expecting her to run well, especially after she was able to keep up with Avantage (Fastnet Rock) on Monday morning,” Richards said. “She's a nice filly and when you go back and assess her Otaki win, sitting back and coming wide and sticking at it, it was a good tough win.

“She got chewed out a bit at the half mile today and came again, and that's the mark of a very promising filly. She'll improve again with it, she's still a bit new and a bit raw but it's all in front of her. 

Purchased by David Ellis CNZM in January at Gold Coast Yearling Sale 2020, from the draft of Bhima Thoroughbreds, Imperatriz, which translates in English to "Empress", is owned by Te Akau Invincible Empress Racing Partnership (Mgr: Karyn Fenton-Ellis MNZM). 

By Leading Australian Sire (wins) I Am Invincible (Invincible Spirit), out of Group 2 placed Berimbau, her dam-sire, Shamardal (Giant's Causeway), has left 45 Group 1 winners worldwide and he stands for a private fee in Ireland. 

“Dave (Ellis) and Mark (Walker) went to Magic Millions to buy some Xtravagant's, in support of his first crop, and they came home with Sword of State (Snitzel) and this filly as well,” Richards said. “They're both natural running two-year-olds, bred and built to be that as well, so they've both run very well.”

Richards said Imperatriz would now freshen-up before attempting to become the seventh Matamata Breeders' Stakes (Gr. 2, 1200m) winner for Te Akau, on 27 February at Matamata.

Te Akau principal David Ellis said: “Our last runner of the year, Zouluminous, won two days ago at Taupo, and it's great to start 2021 with Imperatriz a first-up winner.

“It's a brilliant day's racing. The Auckland Racing Club is certainly taking everything to another level in so many different ways, and it's great to see so many of our winning owners in this filly here enjoying it.

“Thank you all for investing in this filly. She was the last one to sell from that sale and so often we find that the last to sell sometimes turn out to be the best. 

“We were left with a reasonable share to sell and John Elstob and his fiancé Denise Bassett took twenty-five percent, and Karyn (Fenton-Ellis), who adores the filly, took the balance.

“We won this race a few years ago with Warhorse (General Nediym) with Nash Rawiller in the saddle. In fact it was a stable quinella with Irish Rebel running second. Warhorse went on to win the Group 1 Sistema Stakes, then known as the Diamond Stakes, during Auckland Cup Week and be named Champion 2YO of his season. To win it again with an I Am Invincible filly is very exciting and it means her value as a stakes' winner will be sky high.

“It was our tenth two-year-old win for the season and we still have a lot of very good two-year-old racing ahead of us.”

Imperatriz was strapped by Reece Trumper. 

Photo credit -


Sign up to our newsletter