Mark Walker’s star sprinter Imperatriz (-250) has become the third horse in history to complete the Moir Stakes/Manikato Stakes double, joining Manikato and Spinning Hill as the only horses to win the Group 1 features in the same season at Moonee Valley.
The daughter of I Am Invincible has continued her winning ways this preparation, taking her record to three wins from as many starts, with Opie Bosson jumping back aboard for her dominant win in the Manikato Stakes.
After seeing several leaders and on-speed runners win in the first seven races at The Valley, Bosson took luck out of the equation and went to the front with his star mare and lead from start to finish.
As the rest of the field were making their moves and trying to pick up on the eventual winner, she continued to build more of a margin and had put the race to bed by the 200m mark when she led by four lengths.
I Am Me (+500) and Uncommon James (+900) chased gamely in second and third, respectively, but they were no match for the winner.
2023 Manikato Stakes Replay – Imperatriz| T: Mark Walker| J: Opie Bosson
Mark Walker was very complimentary of Bosson’s ride when he spoke post-race.
“That’s the genius of Opie,” Walker said of Bosson’s ride.
“She jumped so well so why take away what she had done.
“I think she had it in the bag a long way from home, really.
“When she went (to the lead) and no one went up to her, I think Opie was probably of the opinion that someone would come around and then he’d take the trail but no one did.
“I didn’t think he was going too hard up on the speed. He probably thought he’d just stay there.
“I think this mare is keeping Opie in the saddle as well. He is such an important part of our team as well.”
Opie Bosson made the trip across the ditch to reconnect with the star mare, and it paid dividends with a dominant win.
“It is a lot easier on horses like this,” Bosson said.
“She just does it for me, really. She’s something special.
“She is, by far. I’ve said it a million times (that) I’ve never ridden a horse that can just switch off and go back when you want it.
“That wasn’t the plan. She was comfortable, she changed legs at the right time, on the turn and in the straight and I thought we were going to be hard to beat.
“I don’t usually get too nervous but today I was ‘walking the box’ a bit this morning and didn’t want to talk too much.
“I gave her a little squeeze to clear the first two horses and then I thought well I’m going leave her here.
“As soon as she got there she switched off and changed legs at the right time and round the home bend she kept coming up underneath me and changing legs.
“I had to push the button, really.”