Eight-time Group One winner Imperatriz put in an underwhelming trial performance when fifth in her 800m heat at Cranbourne on Monday, but the Te Akau Racing camp aren’t fretting ahead of her return in the Gr.1 Black Caviar Lighting Stakes (1000m) at Flemington on Saturday-week.
“She was a little bit underwhelming and to the eye, it would have looked the same,” jockey Michael Dee told Racing.com.
“But to be honest everything seemed to be perfect with her. Her action and breathing and her temperament was normal – but I would say just her being here at her home track she might have been just been a little bit casual.
“I’d say she’s used to going out there and having a slow canter around whereas, if she was away from her home track, she would probably spark-up a little bit more and be her normal self.
“That is all I could put that trial performance down to this morning – being at her home track and just being a little bit casual about things.
“Everything seemed normal. She pulled up good, so we just have to trust she’s at where she needs to be.
“I’ve galloped her here in the past and also over at the racecourse and she certainly seems to go better than when she’s away from home.
“At Cranbourne racecourse, the first gallop this time in, she galloped extremely well and most of the times she goes to Moonee Valley she goes super as well, so I think she was a little bit casual about things today.
“We were going to give her a decent hit-out anyway as it’s her last hit-out before she goes to the Lightning.
“I gave her a little shake-up and she didn’t pick up like she usually does, but I am not concerned. Her action was great and she pulled up well.”
Imperatriz was a standout in the spring for trainer Mark Walker, winning all four of her starts, including the Gr.1 Champions Sprint (1200m), Gr.1 Manikato Stakes (1200m), Gr.1 Moir Stakes (1000m), and Gr.2 McEwen Stakes (1000m).
– NZ Racing Desk