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Imperatriz heads back to NZ for a break

8 April 2024 • Written by Brad Bishop – Racing & Sports

Wonder mare Imperatriz heads back to New Zealand after another brilliant Autumn campaign.

Imperatriz's 2023/24 season is now over but don't expect to hear David Ellis ramping up a campaign for her to be crowned Australia's Champion Racehorse for the season.

The five-year-old finished fourth in last Saturday's Group 1 T J Smith Stakes (1200m) at Randwick won by Chain Of Lightning, her only unplaced run in a season that netted five Group 1 wins, which took her career Group 1 tally to ten.

Imperatriz flies home to New Zealand, where she will spell before returning to Cranbourne later in the year, and while Ellis thinks being crowned Australian Horse Of The Year would be a fitting accolade, she does not need that title to justify a successful first Australian season for Te Akau.

"I don't get involved in judging her with other stables but we're just so incredible proud," Te Akau principal Ellis said.

"What a great way to start our Cranbourne stable, with a horse that's rated the second best in the world, the best sprinter in the world, and we're just very proud to have been able to buy her." - David Ellis

A $360,000 Magic Millions Gold Coast yearling, the Mark Walker-trained daughter of I Am Invincible is one of the leading contenders for the Horse Of The Year award, with Cups double champion Without A Fight shaping as her biggest rival.

Two-time Melbourne Cup Carnival Group 1 winner and All-Star Mile heroine Pride Of Jenni gets the chance to further press her claims for the title in this Saturday's Group 1 Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m) at Randwick.

The T J Smith Stakes was the fourth run in a campaign that netted Group 1 wins in the Black Caviar Lightning (1200m) and William Reid Stakes (1200m) and a game second in the Group 1 Yulong Newmarket Handicap (1200m) with 58kg.

Imperatriz was undefeated in a spring campaign that started with Group 2 success in the McEwen Stakes (1000m) before Group 1 wins in the Moir Stakes (1000m) and Manikato Stakes (1200m), finishing off with a brilliant win down the Flemington straight in the Group 1 Darley Champions Sprint (1200m).