10-time Group 1 winner Imperatriz retired

Glamour sprinter Imperatriz has run her last race with Te Akau Racing on Thursday afternoon announcing that the 10-timer Group 1 winner had been retired.

The five-year-old daughter of I Am Invincible was the subject a variety of veterinary tests upon her arrival back in New Zealand earlier this week, which returned findings Te Akau Racing was not satisfied with.

The precise nature of the findings, or extent of any issues were not revealed, but Te Akau Racing principal David Ellis said in a statement the results were enough to dissuade the team from putting her through another racing preparation.

“Te Akau always puts the well-being of our horses first. The indications are that another high-level racing preparation would not be in her best interests, so whilst sad, the decision is very straightforward,” Te Akau Racing principal David Ellis said.

“Her welfare is our top priority, and she will retire a happy and sound horse.”

A $360,000 Magic Millions Gold Coast Yearling Sale purchase, who is out of the Shamardal mare Berimbau, Imperatriz raced 27 times for 19 wins and four minor placings, which earned Te Akau $6,969,799 in stakes.

Her first Group 1 win came in the 2022 Levin Classic, when trained by Jamie Richards, which was followed by another 1600m Group 1 win in the New Zealand Thoroughbred Breeders Stakes.

Mark Walker took the reins after Richards relocated to Hong Kong and prepared Imperatriz to become the world’s highest-rated sprinter.

She won the Railway Stakes (1200m) and BCD Group Sprint (1400m) in New Zealand before taking all before her in Australia after Te Akau set up base at Cranbourne in Victoria.

Her final 10 starts were in Australia and included six Group 1 wins, a Group 2 win in the McEwen Stakes, a gallant Newmarket Handicap second placing under 58kg and last Saturday’s fourth placing in the Group 1 TJ Smith Stakes.

She twice won the William Reid Stakes (1200m) at The Valley, where she also won the Moir Stakes (1000m) and Manikato Stakes (1200m), while she won a Black Caviar Lightning (1000m) and Champions Sprint (1200m) at Flemington.

“Imperatriz was simply an incredible racehorse,” Walker said.

“Her determination and will to win was supreme.

“She has been remarkable flagbearer for Te Akau’s new Australian stable and we will be forever indebted to her.

“It has been such a privilege to train ‘Berri’, and she’s been an absolute pleasure by every measure.”

The news of Imperatriz’s retirement came just hours after the horse who beat her home in the Newmarket Handicap, James Cummings-trained colt Cylinder, was retired to stand at Darley’s Northwood Stud in Victoria.

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