Brilliant mare Imperatriz extended her winning streak to five on the trot with another outstanding performance in the Group 1 $3 million Darley Champions Sprint (1200m) on Stakes Day.
The I Am Invincible five-year-old came off four consecutive Moonee Valley wins including her Moir Stakes – Manikato Stakes Group 1 double this spring.
Saturday had her running down the famous Flemington ‘Straight Six’ for the first time and she more than proved herself digging deep late to hold off her rivals.
“I was expecting Asfoora to slot forward but he took a hold. So, I used Front Page as my bunny. Probably got there a bit soon. Geez, it’s a long way up that straight,” winning hoop Opie Bosson told Racing.com post-victory.
“To her credit she knuckled down and put her ears back.
“We always knew she was really talented. She’s just getting better with age and she is the real deal and she has proven it now. Hopefully there is more to come for both of us.”
After opening odds-on in the markets she got out to around $2.20 through Ladbrokes by race time and won like a short-priced favourite should.
Bosson timed his run to perfection moving up to tackle the leader Front Page with a furlong to go.
Imperatriz hit the front and despite the late challengers coming she dug in and drew away to salute by a half-length for the punters.
“She’s a real darling. To have a horse like this,” Bosson said.
“It is a dream come true riding a horse like this.”
Second was Matthew Smith‘s The Everest eighth place-getter Buenos Noches ($14) in a lovely run from the four-year-old, while Godolphin‘s two-time Group 1 winning mare at the track and trip In Secret ($3.50) finished a length back for third.
The victory saw Imperatriz become the first horse to take out the Manikato Stakes – Champions Sprint double in the same year since Buffering in 2013.
Connections could now consider a UK bid with Royal Ascot potentially on the cards in 2024.
“I’d love to. I’d love a trip away. It’d be nice to get to Ascot and show them how good she is,” Bosson said.
2023 Darley Champions Sprint Results
|1||8||IMPERATRIZ||Mark Walker||Opie Bosson||8||56.5kg||$2.15F|
|2||2||BUENOS NOCHES||Matthew Smith||Blake Shinn||0.5L||11||58.5kg||$14|
|3||7||IN SECRET||James Cummings||James McDonald||1.25L||5||56.5kg||$3.50|
|4||9||ESPIONA||Chris Waller||Kerrin McEvoy||2L||3||56.5kg||$26|
|5||6||BELLA NIPOTINA||Ciaron Maher & David Eustace||Craig Williams||2.1L||1||56.5kg||$12|
|6||1||FRONT PAGE||Matthew Dale||Tyler Schiller||5.1L||7||58.5kg||$21|
|7||11||C’EST MAGIQUE||Grahame Begg||Michael Dee||5.85L||2||56.5kg||$151|
|8||5||AIRMAN||Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes||Jye McNeil||6.05L||10||58.5kg||$26|
|9||10||ASFOORA||Henry Dwyer||Mitchell Aitken||7.3L||9||56.5kg||$16|
|10||3||LOFTY STRIKE||Julius Sandhu||Damien Oliver||9.05L||4||58.5kg||$61|
|11||4||STAR PATROL||Clinton McDonald||Ben Melham||11.05L||6||58.5kg||$20|
Table Credit: Racing Australia.