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Ad Opie Bosson and Imperatriz return to an adoring Flemington crowd. (Morgan Hancock/Racing Photos)

Lightning strike to begin for Imperatriz

11 December 2023 Written by VRC

Te Akau Racing principal David Ellis has declared the Group 1 Black Caviar Lightning (1000m) as the starting point for their star mare Imperatriz’s autumn campaign.

Returning to the scene of her brilliant display in the Darley Champions Sprint (1200m) on the last day of the Melbourne Cup Carnival, the daughter of I Am Invincible will be chasing a sixth-straight win in the Black Caviar Lightning, with her only defeat in her last nine starts coming in Group 1 Canterbury Stakes, narrowly behind Artorius.

"After careful consideration, the decision has been made that Imperatriz will resume in the Group 1 VRC Black Caviar Lightning Stakes at Flemington in February 2024," Te Akau Racing principal David Ellis said.

Imperatriz ridden by Opie Bosson wins the 2023 Darley Champions Sprint. (Scott Barbour/Racing Photos)

Connections have also decided to resist the international interest and not target the Royal Ascot sprints, as the last three winners of the Black Caviar Lightning have.

"She will remain in Australia for her autumn campaign, thus will not be travelling to the Northern Hemisphere.

"We have received a number of international approaches and invitations, and have worked diligently through the various options available to our special mare.

"Our guiding principle is to always make decisions based on what is right for Imperatriz and her continued well-being, and longevity, while maximising her further opportunities to win at the elite level.

Trainer Mark Walker and the Te Akau ownership group have a three-run plan mapped out for her, beginning with the 1000-metre straight feature.

"Once safely through the Lightning Stakes, Imperatriz will defend her Group 1 William Reid Stakes crown at The Valley and then contest the Group 1 TJ Smith Stakes at Royal Randwick in April.

"She will then return home to Te Akau Stud for a well-deserved spell."