She Was Always a Stand-Out

Date: 1 Nov 2023

She Was Always a Stand-Out


TTR Australia & New Zealand - - reports:


Bred by Raffles Dancers, born and raised at Bhima Stud by Yarraman Park's I Am Invincible and raced by Te Akau Racing, Imperatriz is a mare being followed by many people emotionally invested in her success. We had a chat to a few of them today...


There is a definite hint of pride in Arthur Mitchell's voice as he talks about Imperatriz - the current sprinting star of Australian racing, daughter of the Champion Sire I Am Invincible who calls the Mitchell family's Yarraman Park Stud home.

And justifiably so, with I Am Invincible proving himself to be such a wonderful influence, Mitchell very happy that Imperatriz's runaway win in Saturday's G1 Manikato S. at Moonee Valley saw her sire regain the lead in the Champions Sire Title.

One which had been held, on the back of the Everest win by his son Think About It, by So You Think (NZ) who has been a regular rival of I Am Invincible - runner-up to him in the title for the past two seasons.

In the past, Mitchell noted, it had been difficult to "run down" the sire of the Everest winner with I Am Invincible twice runner-up to Snitzel the years his son Redzel won the rich sprint.

"But it didn't take long this year!" he enthused, adding that having his family run stud's stallion back on top is "very satisfying."

All the more so because I Am Invincible provided the Manikato quinella, his dual Group winning daughter I Am Me who finished off nicely after drifting back to the rear of the 120m contest.

There is satisfaction also to be derived from the fact that Yarraman saw the potential of the family from which Imperatriz hails before her existence - back in 2014 purchasing for $36,000 from the Magic Millions National Broodmare Sale the city placed winner Percussive (Encosta de Lago).

"Her daughter Berimbau (Shamardal {USA}) was showing ability and we bought Percussive in the hope that she'd win a black-type race. As it turned out she was stakes placed."

Two years before Raffles Farm sent Berimbau - who they had purchased at the 2016 Magic Millions National Broodmare Sale for $180,000 - to I Am Invincible, Yarraman had Percussive served by him.

The tough campaigner Vinco, who McEvoy Mitchell Racing purchased for $400,000 at the 2018 Magic Millions Gold Coast Yearling sale was the result - a dual stakes winner who has put his nose out in front on ten occasions, amassing over $1 million in stakes.

On the day of his first trial, his 3/4 sister was frolicking the paddocks as a four-week old foal and by that stage she was already impressing Bhima Stud's Mike Fleming.

As someone born and raised in Christchurch, Fleming undoubtedly enjoys watching New Zealand owned horses race well in Australia and Imperatriz owns a special place in his heart as it was at his Scone property that she was born on August 16, 2018 (yes that's baby Berri below).



"From early on she was one of those you had your eye on," Fleming told TTR.

"She was always a stand-out, she always had that bit of quality."

"She was a very easy horse to raise," he added - "straight forward, uncomplicated."

Bhima was Imperatriz's home until she made her way to the 2020 Magic Millions Gold Coast Yearling Sale where Fleming admits to at first being disappointed with the $360,000 she fetched.

"It was still good money but I did think being such a lovely type, and a daughter of I Am Invincible, that she could've made more."

But Fleming is mindful that purchase price is not everything - "when you sell yearlings out of mares owned by clients you want them to go to the sort of home that will let them develop," he said.

Which made him very happy when it was Te Akau Racing who had put their hand up.

"They have the systems in place to give their horses every opportunity to fulfil their potential," Fleming said.



And Te Akau's David Ellis was very happy to have secured Imperatriz, remembering her at the Gold Coast as being "a really athletic filly who just wasn't quite as strong as a lot of the other yearlings at the sale."

"But I could visualise the horse she was going to develop into," he said "and we were thrilled to get her."

Though finding owners for her was not as easy as he'd hoped - "she was actually the last horse we sold that year," he said.

But it was a good group of owners he assembled and it is their elation that brings both David and his wife Karyn Fenton-Ellis (who also purchased a share in Imperatriz) the most joy.



"Watching the thrill they get out of it is the thrill for us!" Ellis said, also enjoying the love of the entire Te Akau team has for the mare.

"We are fortunate to have great staff who work really hard in all sorts of trying conditions and it has been wonderful watching the thrill they get out of Imperatriz's achievements," he said.

Ellis was confident in Imperatriz from early days, with good reports from the breaker and  the stable from day one.

"She has a beautiful temperament and has been a real little darling since the day we got her - she has never given us any grief."

Though Ellis had a chuckle when jockey Opie Bosson reported that at Moonee Valley "she started bucking on the way to the gates."

"She is just feeling so well," Ellis said, the team in Melbourne have done such a good job with her, she is so relaxed, so happy."




Imperatriz is one of only two runners for I Am Invincible (below) out of mares by Shamardal (USA) with the other - Lady Hamana a Listed winner at Sandown in the UK in June; that victory one of her two from ten starts. 

It is a cross we are likely to see more people try and it is part of the greater success story in regards to I Am Invincible crossing exceptionally well with strains of his own family.



A family his grandam is already line-bred to - her sire Zoffany (USA) and dam both being descendants of the famed matriarch Chelandry (GB) (Goldfinch {GB}).

As we discussed when delving into I Am Invincible's pedigree last year ...

... he loves further strains of the Chelandry family.

And Shamardal is a descendant of Chelandry's half-sister Phosphine (GB) (Foxhall {USA}). A bit further back this is also the family of the great Star Kingdom (Ire) of whom Imperatriz boasts three strains via Biscay, Royal Artist and Todman.

Also from this family is Silly Season (USA) who appears in I Am Invincible and Pre Emptive Strike (Can), Imperatriz' second dam sire.

I Am Invincible has shown a particular liking for strains of the G1 French 2000 Guineas winner Klairon (Fr), son of Chelandry's G1 Grand Criterium winner Clarion (Fr) - another successful descendant of Chelandry.

And Klairon hails from another branch of the same family, one which also produced My Babu (Fr) and Turn-To (Ire) who both appear in I Am Invincible's pedigree as well as the great stayer Alycidon (GB) who pops up in Berimbau's pedigree along with Klairon - the dam sire of Encosta de Lago's dam sire Star Way (GB).

It is interesting to note that 30 of I Am Invincible's 100 stakes winners - and four of his 14 Group 1 winners - are out of mares carrying a Klairon strain within five generations; Viddora, Lombardo and Media Sensation the others successful at the elite level.

Also boasting crosses of the wonderful mares Natalma (USA) (Native Dancer {USA}), Almahmoud (USA) (Mahmoud {Fr}), Somethingroyal (USA) (Princequillo {Ire}) and Lalun (USA) (Djeddah {Fr}), Imperatriz - her sire's most prolific stakes winner - is the second foal for Berimbau who earned her black-type with a G3 Moonee Valley Fillies Classic third to Lumosty (Fastnet Rock).

Also dam of the multiple city winner Cabaca (Fastnet Rock), Berimbau - who was purchased by Yulong for $1.8 million at this year's Inglis Chairman's Sale - produced a full brother to Imperatriz in early August.

Berimbau's dam Percussive is a half-sister to the G2 Todman Slipper Trial winner Royal Courtship (Royal Academy {USA}) from the family of the stakes winners Poor Judge (Royal Academy {USA}) and Proud Player (Squill {USA}).

And a bit further back in her family are the Group 1 half-brothers Easy Rocking and Fairy King Prawn (Danehill {USA}).


Imperatriz as a yearling ...




Last updated in early October the Longines World's Best Racehorse Rankings does not have Imperatriz in the top 43 horses but it will be interesting to see where she sits with the publication of the next edition due out on November 9. 

That is two days before she is due to have her next start in the G1 Champions Sprint at Flemington, after which she is likely to head to the paddock with future aims to be discussed by her ownership group; Royal Ascot one exciting option!

Currently there are two sprinters with Australian form in the top rankings - I Wish I Win (NZ) (Savabeel) and Giga Kick (Scissor Kick) at 121 and 120. Sprinters of the past to have featured include Black Caviar (Bel Esprit) at 130, Nature Strip (Nicconi) 126, Chautauqua (Encosta de Lago) 123, Home Affairs and Flying Artie 120 and Buffering 118.


Photo Credit: Darren Tindale - The Image is Everything
© The Image is Everything - Bronwen Healy & Darren Tindale Photography


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