Imperatriz ‘bucking and squealing' ahead of William Reid quest
Imperatriz ‘bucking and squealing' ahead of William Reid quest

Imperatriz will get back to her favourite track at The Valley in Saturday’s Group 1 William Reid Stakes (1200m). Picture: Racing Photos via Getty Images.

A tough Newmarket Handicap failed to quash the spirit of star mare Imperatriz as she builds towards Saturday's Group 1 William Reid Stakes (1200m) at The Valley.

Imperatriz gave her all but found 58kg just beyond her when second in the Group 1 Newmarket Handicap at Flemington, pulling up with a slight internal bleed after her huge effort.

Te Akau Racing's Melbourne representative Ben Gleeson said Imperatriz amazed the stable with her rapid recovery from the hard Newmarket run.

"I know the media put out she had EIPH but it's all speculation exactly when that happens in the run, you never know," Gleeson, representing trainer Mark Walker, said.

Fifth Gr1 win for I Am Invincible 4yo IMPERATRIZ in the William Reid Stakes at

— Pedigree Update (@pedigreeupdate) March 24, 2023

"It's certainly no excuse because she ran up to her best in the Newmarket (Handicap).

"She pulled up really well and when she went back under saddle on the Monday morning, she let out a little buck and squeal as soon as she went out.

"She's like so many elite athletes, the harder you work them, the better they seem to get."

Imperatriz gave 6½kg to the Newmarket Handicap winner Cylinder in their last clash but the rematch will be at weight-for-age in Saturday's $1m event.

The changed weight conditions prompted TAB to make Imperatriz (56½kg) a $1.75 favourite ahead of Cylinder (56kg) at $4.20 in early betting on the William Reid Stakes.

Cylinder (outside) and grand sprinting mare Imperatriz (inside) will again clash in Saturday's William Reid Stakes at The Valley. Picture: Getty Images.

Te Akau sent four horses to gallop at The Valley on Tuesday morning but Imperatriz remained at the operation's Cranbourne base.

Imperatriz is unbeaten at The Valley so the stable decided to keep the sprinter in her normal routine for the William Reid Stakes.

"She'll gallop on Wednesday. She'll pop across to the (Cranbourne) Turf Club and have her final piece of work on the course proper," Gleeson said.

Third win in the last 5 years for @godolphin in the Gr1 Newmarket Hcp as 3yo colt Cylinder wins for @jamieleekah07, a fitting result after it was announced during the week that his @DarleyAus sire & previous Newmarket winner Exceed And Excel has been retired from stud duties.

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"We keep the same routine and we never change it for her. She just goes out and does her couple of laps and goes to the beach once a week. That's enough to keep her happy."

Gleeson said regular rider Opie Bosson would have no trouble overcoming the barrier on the nine-time Group 1 winner.

"We'd probably have liked it less had she drawn inside actually," Gleeson said.

"We have to show trust in Opie, he knows her so well and he's a world class jockey.

"I think she's most effective when she can get that cover, peel out, and let rip."