Imperatriz set to bypass Everest

Imperatriz winning the Group 2 McEwen Stakes (1000m) at The Valley last Saturday. Photo: Scott Barbour (Racing Photos)

Te Akau Racing has made a definitive decision to keep Imperatriz in Melbourne this spring, opting out of a shot at the prestigious $20 million The Everest (1200m) event at Randwick on October 14.

The mare made a resounding start to her spring campaign at The Valley, clinching victory in the Group 2 McEwen Stakes (1000m), which followed her earlier triumph in the Group 1 William Reid Stakes (1200m) at the same Melbourne track in March.

The allure of the A$20 million prize money for The Everest had been tempting for Imperatriz’s connections over the past month.

However, trainer Mark Walker, along with Dave Ellis and Karyn Fenton-Ellis of Te Akau, made a collective decision to forego the Sydney race and keep the mare in Melbourne.

Walker explained, “She is happy at our Cranbourne stable, and we do think she is a little bit better racing left-handed, although arguably her form is still very good right-handed. But we are happy with her staying in Melbourne.”

Walker had been quietly confident about Imperatriz’s performance, especially after positive feedback from jockey Opie Bosson during her trials.

He said, “We were quietly confident because before she went to the Taupo trials Opie galloped her on the Friday morning and he came back saying ‘I think she is better than she was last year.

“We went in thinking that for a while, Sam and I, and it is hard to believe that you could go much better than last year.

“We do think she is going that much better. She doesn’t have any niggles at the moment and she is just in really great form.”

With The Everest now off the table, Imperatriz’s upcoming schedule includes the Group 1 Moir Stakes (1000m) and Group 1 Manikato Stakes (1200m), both at The Valley, before potentially aiming for the Group 1 Champions Sprint (1200m) at Flemington on November 11.

Walker expressed excitement for the upcoming races, stating, “She is two for two at The Valley now, and her next two runs will be at The Valley. It is pretty exciting times coming up for the whole team.”

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