Te Akau announce Imperatriz plans

Imperatriz’s avoidance of Sydney was one of the main talking points of this year’s Spring Carnival but her 2024 campaign will be geared around a trip to New South Wales with a journey to Royal Ascot ruled out for the five-year-old. The $3 million T J Smith Stakes (1200m) at Randwick on April 6 will be the main target for the eight-time Group 1 winner.

Imperatriz should make her reappearance in the Black Caviar Lightning at Flemington; picture Racing Photos

It will be the final start of a three-run campaign that will commence with the Black Caviar Lightning at Flemington on February 17 and include the defence of her William Reid Stakes (1200m) crown at The Valley on March 22.

The daughter of I Am Invincible will then return to Te Akau Stud in New Zealand, thus ruling out a trip to Royal Ascot in England in June.

“After careful consideration, the decision has been made that Imperatriz will resume in the Group 1 VRC Black Caviar Lightning Stakes at Flemington in February 2024,” Te Akau Racing principal David Ellis said.

“She will remain in Australia for her autumn campaign, thus will not be travelling to the Northern Hemisphere. We have received a number of international approaches and invitations, and have worked diligently through the various options available to our special mare.

“Our guiding principle is to always make decisions based on what is right for Imperatriz and her continued well-being, and longevity, while maximising her further opportunities to win at the elite level.

“Once safely through the Lightning Stakes, Imperatriz will defend her Group 1 MVRC William Reid Stakes crown at The Valley and then contest the Group 1 ATC TJ Smith Stakes at Royal Randwick in April 2024. She will then return home to Te Akau Stud for a well-deserved spell.”

Imperatriz will be chasing a sixth-straight win in the Black Caviar Lightning with her only defeat in nine starts this year a narrow second placing to Artorius in the Group 1 Canterbury Stakes on March 4.

The exceptional racemare's most recent appearance was in the Group 1 Champions Sprint at Flemington on November 11, which followed Group 1 wins at The Valley in the Manikato Stakes and Moir Stakes.