Te Akau Racing’s darling of the turf Imperatriz will attempt to put the perfect seal on a standout spring preparation when she heads to Flemington on Saturday to tackle the Gr.1 Champions Sprint (1200m).
The daughter of I Am Invincible has been a great flagbearer for Te Akau Racing’s newly established Cranbourne barn, winning all three starts this campaign, including the Gr.2 McEwen Stakes (1000m), Gr.1 Moir Stakes (1000m), and Gr.1 Manikato Staks (1200m) – all at The Valley.
She will now head to Flemington for the first time this weekend and Te Akau Racing principal David Ellis, who bought the now five-year-old mare for A$360,000 at the Gold Coast Yearling Sales, is hoping her love affair with Melbourne tracks continues.
“It’s a new ball game going up the straight at Flemington. We are very happy with her but they don’t keep winning at this level every Saturday. It is a pretty strong field, so we have got our fingers-crossed,” he said.
Ellis has been overwhelmed with the support Imperatriz, and in turn Te Akau, has received from both sides of the Tasman, as well as past employees, during her golden run this year.
“I got emails from staff that have worked for us from all around the world that have had something to do with her over the last five years. Everyone has got such a thrill out of it and to see the excitement the owners get out if it all is what makes it worthwhile for us,” Ellis said.
While Imperatriz has been the main flagbearer for their Cranbourne barn, Skew Wiff ensured their name was still up in lights at Flemington this week when taking out the Gr.3 The Hong Kong Jockey Club Stakes (1400m) on Melbourne Cup Day.
“Skew Wiff winning on Melbourne Cup Day was a huge thrill. She is a pretty exciting mare going forward. She is by one of our great sires (Savabeel) and it was just such a thrill to be there on Cup Day to see it all happen,” Ellis said.
The New Zealand-based syndicator has received plenty of interest from people wanting to race a horse out of their Cranbourne barn, which was showcased by the speed at which shares in a recent purchase were sold.
“We syndicated our first horse (in Melbourne), which is an Almanzor filly that we bought privately, and she was sold in 12 minutes,” Ellis said.
“We have just bought a horse (Midnight Blue) on Inglis Digital who won the Perth Cup (Gr.2, 2400m) earlier in the year. We are going to run them in the A$500,000 Cranbourne Cup (1600m) in three weeks time.
“There is a lot of interest from Australians that want to have horses with us. It is a very exciting time for Cranbourne, they have got the best facilities I have ever seen anywhere to train horses.”
Meanwhile, Ellis has returned to New Zealand to head to Riccarton on Saturday where Te Akau will have a strong representation, including the G.1 Al Basti Equiworld Dubai New Zealand 2000 Guineas (1600m), a race they have had a great association with.
“I am going to Riccarton on Saturday, we have got two runners in the 2000 Guineas,” Ellis said.
“We have had six stallions that have won the race and have gone on to stand at stud – King’s Chapel, Darci Brahma, Rock ‘N’ Pop, Extravagant, Embellish, and Noverre.
“One of those (Embellish) has got a good chance in the race in Talisker.”
Talisker takes a picket fence form line into Saturday and is rated a $18 winning chance with TAB bookmakers, while stablemate Trobriand is at $12 chance following his placing behind Burn To Shine in the Gr.3 War Decree Stakes (1600m) last month.
“Talisker is a bit hard to get a line on because he is only an average track worker, but he is absolutely thriving,” Ellis said. “Trobriand, his gallop was of a very high standard on Tuesday morning and we couldn’t be happier with him.”
Ellis purchased both three-year-olds from Karaka as yearlings for $70,000 and $260,000 out of Landsdowne Park and Windsor Park Stud’s drafts respectively.