Star Kiwi gears up for G1 William Reid Stakes

No one knows Imperatriz better than Hunter Durrant, so those who like the star Kiwi sprinter in Friday night’s $1 million William Reid Stakes will be buoyed by his belief that she is in ‘career-best’ form.

The Te Akau horseman is the four-year-old’s regular trackrider, both home and abroad, and was thrilled with the feel she gave him at trackwork at The Valley on Monday morning.

The Mark Walker-trained mare worked solo over 1000 metres, dashing home the last 400m in 24.61 seconds, in a familiarisation session with the scene of Melbourne’s final Group 1 of the season.

“She got around super, she’s just here for a look around, not here to do a lot of work, but she finished it off nicely,” Durrant said.

“At the moment she’s in career best (form) the way that I’m feeling her. She just seems to be getting better and better.”

The daughter of I Am Invincible will be chasing a fifth career Group 1 in the 1200-metre weight-for-age event that has attracted 16 nominations, including fellow New Zealander Babylon Berlin, Benedetta, Bella Nipotina, Chain Of Lightning, In The Congo, Marabi, Passive Aggressive, Roch ‘N’ Horse and Al Quoz Sprint winner A Case Of You.

It will be Imperatriz’s second Australian start, having been run down in the final couple of strides by Artorius in the Group 1 Canterbury Stakes (1300m) at Randwick on March 4.

That was her sixth run of the campaign, which includes Group 1 wins in the Railway Stakes (1200m) and BCD Group Sprint (1400m), but Durrant said she’s showing no signs of training off.

“I couldn’t fault her, she travelled down a week ago and she had a pretty quiet week and a decent bit of work on Saturday and she’ll go into the race nicely,” he said.

“We haven’t been able to fault her after each start, so there’s been no reason to hold back on her.”

Imperatriz will be ridden by Opie Bosson, who will be attending his first Victorian meeting since partnering Melody Belle into third place in the 2020 All-Star Mile And having his first ride at The Valley since Te Akau Shark’s third placing in the 2019 Cox Plate.

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