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Impose - Profile of a Champion
returned to racing in late January in the JRA Plate over 1000m at Sandown. On
straightening Street Ruffian was well clear of Princely Heart as Super Impose was still
well back in second last. In the run to the line Street Ruffian held off Princely Heart as
Super Impose flew down the outside for third beaten by 2 lengths carrying 60kg compared to
Street Ruffian's 51.5kg. Next was a return bout with Vo Rogue in the CF Orr Stakes at
Sandown. Vo Rogue turned for home well clear from Kings High with Super Impose in third
place. In the final 100m Super Impose started to make ground but Vo Rogue had too much in
reserve to win by 1 1/2 lengths as Kings High held third. In the Blamey Stakes he had his
revenge beating Vo Rogue into third place but Better Loosen Up proved too good for both of
them winning by a half neck from Super Impose with a further 3/4 length to Vo Rogue. The
trio clashed again in the Australian Cup three weeks later. Vo Rogue held a big lead
throughout over Stylish Century with a further gap to the others headed by Kingston Rule.
On straightening Vo Rogue was still well clear, going for his second straight win in the
race, from Stylish Century and Better Loosen Up with Super Impose starting to run on from
the back. With 200m to go Vo Rogue was in front from Better Loosen Up as Super Impose and
The Phantom started to run on late. By the post Vo Rogue was in front by a length to
Better Loosen Up with Super Impose 3/4 length away in third as Stylish Century held
It was then back to Sydney where the rain still dogged Super Impose. He did manage two runs though both on dead tracks. First up was the Segenhoe Stakes over 2000m at Rosehill. Horlicks went to the early lead from Kings High and Red Chiffon with Super Impose close up on the rails and Vo Rogue out wide. By the 1600m Vo Rogue led Horlicks and Kings High then Riverina Charm. Vo Rogue raced away during the middle stages from Horlicks but the gap quickly closed around the turn. Well into the straight Horlicks hit the front from Vo Rogue as Dr Grace started to chase in earnest from Sydeston with Super Impose and Better Loosen Up still near the rear but starting to run on. Inside the 150m Horlicks and Sydeston were joined by Better Loosen Up then Dr Grace and Vo Rogue with Super Impose finishing on hard. Over the final stages Better Loosen Up came away to win by two lengths from Sydeston with Super Impose a length away third. His next target was to be the BMW at Rosehill two weeks later but the rain hindered his preparation and ultimately he was switched to the Epsom Handicap. Super Impose was topweight with 57kg and drew the outside barrier of the final field of 20. Then on the day the rain began again and the track was rated dead. Super Impose was sent out at 20-1 with lightweight such as Shaftesbury Avenue (carrying only 49kg) thought to be more suited to the conditions. The heavy rain set in as they jumped where Merimbula Bay and Lightning Bend disputed the early lead as Super Impose dropped to the rear. By the 800m Wong took over from Lightning Bend then Spot The Rock and Merimbula Bay with Super Impose edging forward around the field. Around the turn Wong was joined by Merimbula Bay and Shaftesbury Avenue with Comrade wide, Our Grey Invader wider and Super Impose the widest of all and well back. Over the famous Randwick rise Shaftesbury Avenue raced well clear from Merimbula Bay with Our Grey Invader chasing hard and Super Impose starting to wind up very wide on the track. With 100m left Shaftesbury Avenue was still well clear but Super Impose was in full flight. In the shades of the post Super Impose hit the front to win by a short neck from Shaftesbury Avenue with a further two lengths to Our Grey Invader and a similar margin to Rajamah in fourth.
The Doncaster was Super Impose's first Group 1 victory. Before the race he had already topped the million dollars in stake earnings without winning at weight for age or a Group 1. After the victory he was entered for the Japan Cup and was spelled for the winter in Queensland to prepare for the race.
By the end of his 5yo year his record stood at 40 starts for 8 wins but a remarkable 14 seconds with a further 7 thirds. He was known more of a bridesmaid in the big Group races and was beginning to be known for winning when things were against him but failing as an odds on favourite. He may not have been a favourite of the punters but his last to first style and never give in attitude was well received by racing fans and even though he was 6 years of age in 1990 his fans expected Super Impose to be the dominating horse of the Australian turf.
First up in the Warwick Stakes despite the dead track he did not disappoint. Starting at 9/4 he came from midfield in the straight to overwhelm Eastern Classic and win under hands and heels by a length. Super Impose then went on to the Chelmsford Stakes where he started 1/2fav. Approaching the turn Stargazer led as Super Impose started to thread his way through the field. On straightening Stargazer kicked well clear of Wiley Post as Super Impose finally got out and gave chase. Over the final 100m Super Impose was slowly making ground but the winning post appeared too soon with Stargazer winning by 1 1/2 lengths from Super Impose with Palace Revolt making ground for third. The punter forgave him for the loss and sent him out as the 9/4fav in the George Main Stakes and again he just failed by a half neck to grab Shaftesbury Avenue with Stargazer third. Being race favourite was beginning to be a curse in races.
Super Impose lined up under the handicap conditions again in the Group 1 Epsom Handicap over the same course and distance as the Doncaster. Again Super Impose was allotted the topweight, this time 58.5kg, and drew barrier 14. Ricochet Rosie went to the lead with Livistona Lane and Don't Play as Super Impose soon dropped out to the rear of the 20 runners. Livistona Lane took over by the 1000m from Ark Regal then Ricochet Rosie and Livistona Lane as Super impose started to edge forward around the outside of the entire field. Around the turn Ark Regal and Don't Play joined Livistona Lane while Paulandic began to run on as Super Impose moved to the outside for his final sprint. With 200m left Livistona Lane was holding challenges from Don't Play and Our Poverty Bay as Super Impose started to charge home but still a fair way back. Inside the final 70m Super Impose started to swamp the opposition as he charged home down the centre of the track to grab the lead at the 25m mark going on to win by a half length from Our Poverty Bay with Ricochet Rosie third. He recorded 46.7 for his last 800m. Super Impose was the first horse since Blue Legend in 1946 to win the Doncaster Hcp & Epsom Hcp in the same year and only the third horse ever to do it with Hyman being the first in 1909. He was also only the second horse since the introduction of the metric weight scale to win the race with over 58kg - the other being Triton in his defeat of Gunsynd. After the victory his stakes earnings were $2,161,230 and he was being labelled as Australia's best racehorse and was promoted to favourite for the Melbourne Cup. Super Impose then headed to Melbourne.
He lined up in the Caulfield Stakes and started the 5/2 fav. Stargazer and Mickey's Town led around the turn with Super Impose well back. On straightening Sydeston raced to the front from Mickey's Town as Super Impose stormed after him. Over the final 100m Super Impose tried to catch Sydeston but failed by a neck. On pulling up it was clear all was not right with the horse and he returned to scale with blood trickling from his nostrils. There was no on course access to the scoping equipment expected to determine the fate of his spring campaign but after both on course vets examined Super Impose he was declared a bleeder by stewards. The Freedmans waited until they had been able to have the horse examined by their own vet with a scope before confirming that blood had been found in his lungs and all spring engagements were cancelled. The three month ban left Better Loosen Up and Stylish Century as the Australian representatives in the race. Stylish Century got worked up by the occasion and broke through the gates and careered on for a distance before being passed fit to start but Better Loosen Up showed the strength of Australian racing of the era to score a barnstorming but narrow win over some of the best stayers in the world. Better Loosen Up headed for superstar status as his great rival rested in the paddock.