Imperatriz will contest the Gr.1 Black Caviar Lightning (1000m) at Flemington on Saturday.  Photo: Bruno Cannatelli

Imperatriz set to strike in Lightning

12 February 2024

Jockey Michael Dee was slightly concerned about Imperatriz’s subpar trial at Cranbourne last week, but those concerns were allayed following her pleasing track gallop over 800m at The Valley on Monday morning.

The multiple Group One winner put in a lacklustre performance when finishing fifth in her 800m heat at her home track, causing quite the stir in Melbourne, however, the Te Akau Racing camp remained unfazed and she proved she was back to her usual self on Monday with the trip away.

“She was perfect this morning,” Dee told “She sat off the galloping partner Sans Doute, who is a horse that has been racing extremely well. We cruised up under our own steam and it was nice work in the end.

“Her work this morning suggests she is back. She seemed to spark up, especially here at The Valley. She loves The Valley.”

Trainer Mark Walker was trackside on Monday and was pleased with what he saw ahead of Imperatriz’s first-up test in the Gr.1 Black Caviar Lightning (1000m) at Flemington on Saturday.

“(Today was) to get her out of her comfort zone a little bit and they always prepare a beautiful grass here at Moonee Valley, and we are thankful that we are able to use it,” Walker said.

“Mick was really happy with her and that will be her only bit of fast work this week.”

Walker put last week’s disappointing trial down to a laidback nature on her home track and believes she is back to her best ahead of Saturday.

“Horses at their home tracks are a little laidback sometimes, especially as they get older. We are happy with her, nothing is out of place,” he said.

“We think she is pretty ready. They don’t give Group Ones away, so you have got to have them ready for Group Ones.

“Trials are different to raceday and we are looking forward to Saturday.”

Imperatriz was a standout in the spring, winning all four starts, including the Gr.2 McEwen Stakes (1000m), Gr.1 Moir Stakes (1000m), Gr.1 Manikato Stakes (1200m), and Gr.1 Chamions Sprint (1200m).”

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