Group 1 Newmarket Handicap preview

8 March 2024 Written by Racing & Sports

Can Imperatriz emulate Black Caviar and carry 58kg to win the Newmarket?

Firstly, Imperatriz and Te Akau should be lauded for their willingness to take up the challenge of top weight as a mare in the Group 1 Newmarket Handicap (1200m).

Ironically, for the all the history supposedly against it, mares carrying top weight in a Newmarket have a perfect 1/1 record with the great Black Caviar winning with 58kg in 2011.

Black Caviar ran to 135 with Timeform in her Newmarket win, just one pound off her peak rating of 136, which came in her 2012 Lightning Stakes win over Hay List and Buffering.

Imperatriz boasts a peak of 124 on the same scale and is arguably a bit better than that, which is more comparable to another star mare and past Newmarket winner – Miss Andretti.

Her best ratings topped out at 127 and like Black Caviar, she was only one pound off her best in her Newmarket win, running to 126 as a $4 favourite when beating Gold Edition carrying 56kg, 1kg less than top weight Dance Hero.

Buenos Noches was excellent behind Imperatriz in the Spring, every bit as good as her to the line when beaten half a length, and meets her 4.5kg better this time around. He couldn’t do much more from a hopeless spot first up and looks a genuine chance here.

The others that have ratings, at least at the weights, that give them chances are Bella Nipotina, Magic Time and Sghirripa.

Bella was good in the Lightning- but we didn’t really learn anything from that race given they just sprinted home late off a walking tempo early. She was good in the Champions Sprint in the Spring, coming from well back, but was still behind Buenos Noches who also meets her better at the weights.

Magic Time is a very good mare. She’s narrowly improved her rating at her past three starts, culminating in a strong win despite sitting wide throughout in the Rupert Clarke. She should get a good run just off the speed and out wide and looks a danger.

Sghirripa has a leap to make but did run a big rating to win here in the Standish Handicap before having no hope when missing the start in the Oakleigh Plate. He was comfortably the fastest splits of the day there and gets in better, relatively, at the weights here. He drops 3kg down to the minimum and looks the horse to take out of that.

Imperatriz will have to run at her best. Buenos Noches, Bella Nipotina, Magic Time and Sghirripa all look the top contenders to challenge her in what's sure to be an exciting edition of the Yulong Newmarket Handicap.