Imperatriz wins for the fifth consecutive time at the Valley after notching up her second straight William Reid Stakes. (Image: Racing Photos)

Imperatriz withstands rocking finish

Superstar sprinter Imperatriz added another chapter to her love affair with The Valley when she took out the Group 1 William Reid Stakes (1200m), but not in the manner she is accustomed to winning at the track.

The $1.70 favourite Imperatriz swept around the field before the turn and looked set to sail home to another easy victory at the track, but she was challenged by the rank outsider Johnny Rocker ($71) who took ground off her in the straight but failed to overhaul her by a short neck.

Third placegetter I Am Me ($6.50) was two lengths away. 


It was a return to the winner’s circle for Imperatriz after she had finished second in the Newmarket Handicap to Cylinder.

Her trainer Mark Walker said the triumph was a great thrill after a rare defeat when she finished second in the Newmarket Handicap at her previous start.

“It’s a bit of a relief really. I wish all Group 1 races were run here.”

It was Imperatriz’s fifth win at The Valley in a row and her winning sequence started when she won the William Reid Stakes last year. She has now won seven of her last eight starts.

Walker didn’t mind jockey Opie Bosson positioning Imperatriz worse than mid-field in the run.

“She got into a nice spot, and we haven’t had much luck today on the fence today with our other runners, so I knew we’d be out from the draw,” Walker said.

Bosson said he was happy to take a position behind Bella Nipotina, but she didn’t take him anywhere.

Bosson said he had to make a long run around the field from down the side of the track and around the turn.

“I’m glad she came out there and won the way she did.”