Any doubts about the ability of quality mare Imperatriz to handle a testing surface at Te Rapa on Saturday were well and truly dispelled in the space of 100m as she streaked clear to win the Group 2 Waikato Stud Foxbridge Plate (1200m).
The heavily backed favourite for the race off the back of a successful season opener at Ruakaka three weeks earlier, Imperatriz was shooting for her fifth win in succession after closing out her three-year-old season with three straight victories that included two at Group One level.
Rider Opie Bosson had a lapful of horse throughout the contest and moved the daughter of I Am Invincible within striking distance in the middle of the track shortly after straightening.
Bosson asked her to go at the 300m and she hit overdrive as she put four lengths on the chasers in the twinkling of an eye before easing down to win by close to six lengths over the well fancied Butler, with veteran galloper Demonetization snatching third at the line.
Trainer Mark Walker was pleased to have made the decision to give her a race at Ruakaka to build fitness before tackling the Te Rapa feature after seeing the track come up as tough Heavy 10 on the day.
“She's one right out of the box,” Walker said.
“She is quite special and it is good to see Opie back riding well on a day like this.
“(Starting at Ruakaka) was more about predicting the track could be heavy today, so we didn't want to hurt her coming here first up with the program she has ahead of her.
“When the track turned up the way it did you do second guess yourself, but I think we got it right.”
Imperatriz will now head to the first Group One contest of the season, the Group 1 Tarzino Trophy (1400m) at Hastings in a fortnight, with Bosson excited about the mare putting in a similar effort.
“She was a different horse today from Ruakaka because as soon as she got on the track, she was a pumped up underneath me,” he said.
“Across the top all I wanted to do was let her go, she was going that good and when I released the brakes, man she can go,
“It felt like we were on a good track with how quick she went and I can't wait to get on a better track and to hold her up for longer as she could be even more explosive.
“After today I think she is right on for Hastings.”
Bred by Raffles Dancers NZ Ltd, Imperatriz was bought on the Gold Coast for A$360,000 by Te Akau Racing principal David Ellis and is a classy daughter of the Group 2 Moonee Valley Fillies' Classic (1600m) placegetter Berimbau.
She has now won nine of her twelve starts and just under $600,000 in stakes, with six of her victories coming at stakes level including the Group 1 Levin Classic (1600m) and Group 1 New Zealand Thoroughbred Breeders' Stakes (1600m) for her owners, the Te Akau Invincible Empress Racing Partnership.