The Ben, Will & JD Hayes-trained Cox...
Mark Walker’s star mare Imperatriz further cemented her champion status when continuing her flawless record at Moonee Valley with an all too easy victory as the odds-on favourite in Saturday’s Group 1 $2 million Ladbrokes Manikato Stakes (1200m).
The Manikato ran this year on Ladbrokes Cox Plate Day and was all about one runner.
I Am Invincible five-year-old Imperatriz made it four straight wins at the track posting her third Group 1 Moonee Valley success and fourth in her career overall with a dominant victory over a small field.
In a bit of pre-race drama Buenos Noches was scratched at the barriers after being taken out and failing a vet check.
There were just six away from the gates then and top New Zealand hoop Opie Bosson found himself in front leading without pressure on the hot favourite.
It wasn’t the plan to lead but when Imperatriz got away so well and was left alone in front, she was able to lead from barrier to box without ever looking threatened.
“That’s sort of the genius of Opie, he jumped so well so why take away that advantage,” Walker told Racing.com post-victory.
“I think she had it in the bag a long way from home really.”
In the autumn Imperatriz won the Group 1 William Reid Stakes (1200m) before returning this spring to set track records in the Group 2 McEwen Stakes (1000m) and Group 1 Moir Stakes (1000m).
Third-up and fit today she relished going around her pet track once more with another outstanding performance over the six furlongs.
Imperatriz ($1.40F) on the line had over three lengths to spare on the distant runner-up I Am Me from the Maher/Eustace stable, with Group 1 winner Uncommon James rounding out the trifecta in third.
It was a rewarding Manikato Stakes result for connections who have stood by Walker’s decision to keep the mare in Melbourne at her preferred course over heading up to Sydney this campaign.
“She just does it for me really, she’s just something special,” Bosson said.
“She is by far (the best horse I’ve ever ridden).
“More to come I think.”
There is a chance Imperatriz could head to Flemington on Stakes Day, November 11, for a shot at the Group 1 $3 million Champions Sprint (1200m) down the straight.
Buffering (2013) was the last horse to complete the Manikato Stakes – VRC Sprint double.
2023 Manikato Stakes Results & Finishing Order
|1||6||IMPERATRIZ||Mark Walker||Opie Bosson||4||56.5kg||$1.40F|
|2||7||I AM ME||Ciaron Maher & David Eustace||James McDonald||3.25L||5||56.5kg||$6|
|3||3||UNCOMMON JAMES||Steven O’Dea & Matthew Hoysted||Damian Lane||3.65L||2||58.5kg||$10|
|4||1||THE INFERNO||Cliff Brown||Jake Noonan||3.75L||3||58.5kg||$41|
|5||4||JIGSAW||Cindy Alderson||Daniel Moor||7L||6||58.5kg||$31|
|6||5||I AM WAR||Trevor J Andrews||Jamie Mott||7.4L||1||58.5kg||$91|
|SB||2||BUENOS NOCHES||Matthew Smith||Blake Shinn||0||58.5kg|
Table Credit: Racing Australia.
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