Imperatriz kept her unbeaten record at the track intact

Queen of The Valley Imperatriz defends her crown

Imperatriz’s love affair continued at The Valley on Saturday as she defended her crown in the 3 Point Motors William Reid Stakes.

The Mark Walker mare had to do it the hard way, left three-wide without cover before the 600m.

The Valley crowd roared as Imperatriz loomed before the turn, and she again took the bend with aplomb. 

She sprinted to the front, but she had a surprise challenger down the straight in Johnny Rocker. 

The Nick Ryan four-year-old made the gigantic leap from a Benchmark 78 to a Group 1 Weight-For-Age sprint, but showed he’s a horse on a rapid rise, testing Imperatriz to the line. 

He couldn’t catch Imperatriz however, with the Queen of The Valley holding off Johnny Rocker by a head, with a gap of two lengths back to I Am Me. 

It made it back-to-back victories for Imperatriz in the $1 million 3 Point Motors William Reid Stakes, becoming the first horse since Apache Cat in 2008/2009 to achieve the feat. 

The win also takes her record to a perfect five at The Valley, with Black Caviar’s undefeated record at the track of seven wins now in sight. 

It was a rollercoaster forty minutes for Te Akua Racing, with the Mark Walker and Opie Bosson combination denied by the barest of margins in the Group 2 DCE Alister Clark Stakes, as Antrim Coast for fellow New Zealander Stephen Marsh, prevailed in a bobbing finish at big odds. 

It was a day jockey Thomas Stockdale won't forget, combining with Mick Price and Michael Kent Jnr for two Group 3 wins. 

Exciting three-year-old filly Vibrant Sun took out the Dynamic Print Group Alexander Stakes, while Gumdrops picked up her second Stakes win at The Valley in the PKF Don Casboult Classic. 

There was plenty to celebrate for the Ciaron Maher stable, clinching four victories at the meeting, including Extratwo's triumph in the final race, the Ladbroke It! Handicap, alongside earlier wins by Growing Empire Empire (Listed Xtreme Freight Valley Pearl), Strawberry Rock (Ascend Sales Trophies Handicap), and Sir Davy (Caspers Pies & Pastries Handicap).

Another highlight of the day was the Shetland Pony Exhibition Race taking place down The Valley straight, which was made achievable through the support of Thoroughbred Industry Careers and Pony Club Australia. 

It was a photo finish as Squid, ridden by Penelope Mawhinney in the Godolphin silks, held on from Isabelle Kunde on Fizzy Pop. 

The Pit Stop Party Zone had all the electrifying horse racing and Formula 1 action on two big screens and the day ended in high spirits, with Group 1 jockey Ben Allen, fresh off riding in the penultimate race, jumping behind the DJ decks.

The meeting marked the conclusion of the 2023/24 racing season at The Valley.

It was a season full of memorable moments, with Imperatriz at the forefront of many.

She achieved a clean sweep of the Group 1 sprints, triumphing in the Charter Keck Cramer Moir Stakes, Ladbrokes Manikato Stakes, and the 3 Point Motors William Reid Stakes.