Te Akau Season - Stakes' Win 10 of 30 - Australia No.3

Date: 10 Jul 2024

Te Akau Season - Stakes' Win 10 of 30 - Australia No.3

July sees the final month of our phenomenal 2023/24 racing season.  

As we like to do at this time of the year, we now reflect every day on our Group/Listed performers of the 'season that was' - and there were plenty!  In fact 30 across New Zealand and Australia, with nine at Group 1 level.

Te Akau's stable star Imperatriz continued to make a huge statement on the Australian racing scene - - she was quite simply scintillating in the A$2 million Group 1 Ladbrokes’ Manikato Stakes - remaining unbeaten for the season in both Australia, as well as at Moonee Valley.

This win saw her declared ‘Queen of the Valley’ by doing what no horse had ever previously done - winning all three of the Group 1 sprints at The Valley!!

Continuing her rise to stardom, Imperatriz (5 m I Am Invincible – Berimbau, by Shamardal) recorded a seventh Group One victory in the A$2 million Ladbrokes Manikato Stakes (Gr. 1, 1200m) on Cox Plate Day, 28 October, at Moonee Valley. 

The star sprinting mare in Australasia, Imperatriz took an immediate liking to the Strath Ayr surface when winning the A$1 million William Reid Stakes (Gr. 1, 1200m), followed with back-to-back track records over 1000 metres in the McEwen Stakes (Gr. 2, 1000m - track record) and Moir Stakes (Gr. 1, 1000m - track record), and now made it four in a row on the course.

With Te Akau stable rider Opie Bosson ONZM in the saddle, and backed as unbeatable ($1.20), Imperatriz hustled from barrier four to lead, strode out beautifully before having her rivals off the nickel at the 400m and romped clear to win by three and a quarter lengths. 

In a race won by some of the greats, she made it look like a track gallop.

“She does it for you and she’s something special,” said Bosson, following his 93rd Group One success.

“I’ve never ridden a horse that can just switch off and then go bang when you want her.”

It was also a great thrill for Te Akau Australia assistant trainer Ben Gleeson, who left the same position with a leading Melbourne trainer to join the team, and helped set up the training base for Te Akau at Cranbourne.

“I’m so proud and privileged to be working with a horse like this, especially with Te Akau as well,” he said. 

“I’ve been fortunate to work with some fantastic horses over the years, but never a sprinter like this and she is a superstar.”

Gleeson was also praiseworthy of Melbourne based Kiwi jockey Michael Dee, who was aboard for her resuming victory in the McEwen Stakes. 

“Mick (Dee) has been massive in riding her track gallops and giving us good feedback and certainly giving us the confidence that she was on track,” Gleeson added.

Purchased for A$360,000 by David Ellis CNZM at the Gold Coast Yearling Sale 2020, from the draft of Bhima Thoroughbreds, Imperatriz was raced by the Te Akau Invincible Empress Racing Partnership (Mgr: Karyn Fenton-Ellis MNZM).

“It’s a dream for every owner to have a Champion, and these owners are experiencing and living it with one of the very best,” Ellis said.

“She’s officially won more Group One races (5) than any other horse in the world this year, with another still to come, and the only horse in history to win the Triple Crown of Group One sprints: William Reid, Moir, and Manikato, in a the same year at Moonee Valley. 

“We put a lot of time and effort into selecting and buying the best horses we can, with the realistic knowledge that they’re not all going to be champs, but we’ve certainly had our share with the likes of Darci Brahma, Princess Coup, Melody Belle, Avantage, Probabeel, and this mare, among over 40 Group One winners of 90-plus Group One races.

“It’s an incredible thrill for me, Karyn, all our team, and most of all for the owners. And it’s great for New Zealand racing to be flying the flag high on Cox Plate Day.” 

Imperatriz wrote yet another record - in May 2024 she was sold at the Magic Million's Saale for A$6.6 million - a Southern Hemisphere record for any mare or filly!


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