Te Rapa wrap: Imperatriz, Sharp ‘N’ Smart star with G1 wins

Despite the attentions of the riderless Mustang Valley, Imperatriz wins the Group 1 BCD Group Sprint (1400m) at Te Rapa. (Photo: Trish Dunell)

Te Rapa hosted a great day of Group 1 racing on Saturday with the highlight being the effortless win of class mare Imperatriz in the BCD Group Sprint over 1400m. 

Top hoop Opie Bosson had her perfectly positioned throughout the running, and once presented she let down beautifully and gave Opie an armchair ride to the line.

The way she won belied the fact that the pair had just won in a time not matched at the track since 1992. 

Of the defeated brigade, both Babylon Berlin and Levante ran on well to fill their respective placings, with the latter again forced to make up a lot of ground after dropping well back in the early stages. 

2023 BCD Group Sprint – Imperatriz (1st)

Bosson was reported as saying that when Imperatriz is on song there are not many horses that are able to get near her, which could set up some mouthwatering clashes in the future when champion trainer Mark Walker decides to travel her to Australia. 
In the other Group 1 feature, the Herbie Dyke Stakes at WFA over 2000m, we saw a horse that Australians are all too familiar with in Sharp ‘N’ Smart bounce back to his best with a courageous win. 

The boom three-year-old sat wide throughout, and after a brief tussle with runner-up Campionessa on the home turn he knuckled down to the task and was too strong inside the distance, forging clear to win by a length. 

Co-trainer Graeme Rogerson feels that there is even more to come for this son of Redwood, which should set alarm bells ringing for any likely opposition going forward.  

2023 Herbie Dyke Stakes – Sharp ‘N’ Smart

Rogerson, who is never short of a word or two, has found another top-liner and his next targets – the New Zealand Derby and Australian Derby – are there for the taking.

It is safe to say that jockey Ryan Elliot would like nothing better than to stick with this horse when they do eventually return to Australia. 
While the connections of Sharp ‘N’ Smart look to bank the NZ Derby next, they might have to be wary of the Roger James & Robert Wellwood-trained Prowess, who won the Group 2 Ellis Fillies Classic over 2000m.

For just as Sharp ‘N’ Smart was so impressive in winning the Herbie Dyke, this filly was probably even more exciting to watch as she won her feature without leaving second gear.

Her trainers certainly know how to win a Derby in this country, and should they decide to take that path, then it could set up a terrific tussle between two of New Zealand racing’s rising stars.  

2023 Ellis Filles Classic – Prowess (1st)

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