Opie Bosson hasn’t been aboard Imperatriz since their demolition job in the Gr.2 Foxbridge Plate (1200m), but that doesn’t mean the mighty mare has been out of sight, out of the champion jockey’s mind.
The 42-year-old has been keeping a close eye on the hot favourite for Saturday’s Gr.1 Tarzino Trophy (1400m) at Hastings where he will be reunited with the Mark Walker-trained four-year-old.
“I haven’t ridden her since Te Rapa, but I can tell you she worked very well yesterday morning,” Bosson said.
Already a dual Group One winner, Imperatriz successfully opened her current campaign with an open handicap sprint victory under 60kg at Ruakaka and blitzed her rivals in the Te Rapa feature on Heavy10 footing.
Even Bosson admitted he was taken aback by Imperatriz’s stellar performance in the Foxbridge Plate and the change in the daughter of I Am Invincible’s approach.
“She really impressed me, right from the moment I got on her back she was on the job,” he said.
“Going down the start I thought far out, you’re a different horse than the one at Ruakaka, and she just came out and brained them.”
The Imperatriz camp had voiced pre-race concerns about the mare handling the going, but they were proved groundless.
“She got through it easily and it felt like she was on a firm track,” Bosson said.
However, he did sound a word of caution as Hastings could present a different underfoot challenge.
“Te Rapa is not a really heavy type of track like other tracks are and there is still a little bit of concern,” Bosson said.
“If they get the rain down there tomorrow and the next day it’s not going to be easy, but she is a very classy horse.”
Imperatriz has also drawn the widest alley and Bosson said he had no pre-conceived plan and the barrier draw may even count in their favour.
“I’ll just see how she jumps away and hopefully we get a bit of cover. It might work out for the best having the outside gate by that time of day.”
Bosson is banking on Imperatriz’s quality to edge him one step closer to his career goal of riding a century of Group One winners, with his current tally on 87.
“It would be nice to get to 100, nobody has got there before in New Zealand,” he said.
Bosson will also be aboard Imperatriz’s stablemate Dynastic, with last season’s Karaka Million 2YO (1200m) winner and Group One performer to make his three-year-old debut in the Listed El Roca - Sir Colin Meads Trophy (1200m).
The son of Almanzor made all four of his juvenile appearances on top of the ground and has placed in both of his lead-up trials to Saturday on heavy going.
“He was just fair on the wet tracks. It has been hard to get a line on him and know where he is at,” Bosson said.
“He worked on the course proper the other morning, I didn’t ride him, but apparently his work has been a lot better than it has been so he might be on the way up.
“He has got really laid back so we’re just going to have to wait and see on his first-up run.”
His other feature race ride for Walker is Sans Doute, who goes into the Listed HP/PB Thoroughbred Breeders’ Association Gold Trail Stakes (1200m) second-up after the Not A Single Doubt filly finished runner-up on debut at Taupo.
“She is a smart filly and got tightened up a bit in her first start and still hit the line well,” Bosson said.
“She won a trial very easily on a wet track so I’m sure she will get through the ground.”
Bosson will also partner Fashion Shoot in NZB Ready to Run Sale Trainers’ Series Handicap (1300m) and Zeitaku in the Cancer Society – Donate Now Handicap (1400m) for Walker.
His book is completed by Kylie Little’s Little Jo in the Colliers Commercial Hawke’s Bay Handicap (2000m) and La Bella Beals for Stephen Marsh in the Remember ‘Jooky’ Handicap (1200m).