History Says: Imperatriz’s Weighty Burden In The Newmarket

Last week we discovered that Fangirl wasn’t the new Winx after all.

This week, carrying the burden of comparison to a great mare of the recent past is Imperatriz.

Not that anyone is suggesting the Kiwi superstar is the equal of Black Caviar. For starters, Imperatriz has racked up six defeats (from 24 starts). Black Caviar retired with a tally of zero (from 25 starts).

The reason for all the Caviar chat is that Imperatriz goes into this Saturday’s $1.5 million Newmarket Handicap as topweight with 58kg. Peter Moody’s mare carried the same weight and saddlecloth when she won the 2011 Newmarket by three lengths as a $1.18 favourite in a field of 11.

The other thing Imperatriz and Black Caviar have in common is that both have faced accusations of being “looked after” by connections keen to maintain their winning streaks.

In both cases, the charges are ridiculous. The small fields Black Caviar often faced were a result of her ability to scare off rivals, not of Moody chasing soft targets. And travelling to Ascot to win the Diamond Jubilee seven weeks after winning the Goodwood was no mean feat.

Neither is a mare carrying 58kg to victory in the Newmarket.

Yes, horses have won the Newmarket with 64.5kg (Greenline, 1930) and 63kg (Bernborough, 1946). But that was a different world.

Only three horses have won with 58kg or more in the metric era: Shaftesbury Avenue (58kg, 1991), Black Caviar and Hay List (58.5kg, 2012).

Taking into account the two-kilo allowance for mares, Black Caviar’s feat is the most impressive of the three. It will be just as significant if Imperatriz wins on Saturday, and surely she will start longer than $1.18.

Contrary to some accounts, weight remains a significant factor in the Newmarket. Seven of the past 11 winners have had 52.5kg or less.

– racing.com

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