Imelda Mary (NZ) Captures Fifth Leg of NZB Filly of the Year Series

Imelda Mary (NZ) Captures Fifth Leg of NZB Filly of the Year Series. Photo: Trish Dunell.
Imelda Mary (NZ) Captures Fifth Leg of NZB Filly of the Year Series. Photo: Trish Dunell.

Low-priced Karaka purchase Imelda Mary (NZ) (Ferlax) stepped up to the big time with a breakthrough victory in the $100,00 Group 2 Valachi Downs Royal Stakes (2000m) at Ellerslie on New Year’s Day – the fifth leg of the New Zealand Bloodstock Filly of the Year Series.

Bought for just $3,500 at the 2017 Festival Sale, Imelda Mary made her first Filly of the Year Series impact with an eye-catching fifth in the Group 1 New Zealand 1000 Guineas (1600m) in November.

She was still a maiden at that stage, but rectified that at Matamata at her next start. Then she went to Ellerslie and hit a new career high.

Ridden in midfield by Cameron Lammas, Imelda Mary burst into contention in the straight and went clear to win by a length and a quarter.

Imelda Mary is trained by Wayne Hillis, who shares ownership with Chris Delamore and Ross Robertson. She has now had 13 starts for two wins, four placings and $91,350 in prizemoney – more than 26 times her purchase price.

“It’s very special,” Hillis said. “This filly is named after my mum, so it’s unbelievable. I’ve been in racing all my life and had some good thrills, but this is right up there.”

The win was worth 8 points for Imelda Mary, putting her in equal second on the Filly of the Year table alongside Pinmedown (NZ) (Pins) and Queen of Diamonds (NZ) (Savabeel). The New Zealand 1000 Guineas winner Media Sensation (I Am Invincible) remains in front on 12 points.

Royal Stakes placegetters Secret Allure (NZ) (Zacinto) and the white filly Luminous (NZ) (Reliable Man) earned 4 and 2 points respectively.

Imelda Mary is posed to make further impact later in the Filly of the Year Series, although the Karaka Million 3YO Classic (1600m) on January 26 is another attractive option.

“She’s in the Oaks (Group 1 Al Basti Equiworld New Zealand Oaks at Trentham on March 16) and that is her main target,” Hillis said. “But I’ll freshen her up and have a go at the Karaka Million as she is eligible for that.

“It’s a mile, so whether that is far enough or she wants to keep going further, I’m not sure. But we’ve got to have a go.”

The Filly of the Year Series will continue with the sixth leg, the $70,000 Group 3 Desert Gold Stakes (1600m) at Trentham on January 19.

Vendor Haunui Farm
Purchaser Mr WP & Mrs VD Hillis (Matamata)
Breeding Ferlax – Eleesha
Sale Lot 1189, 2017 Festival Sale, $3,500
Bred by GSA Bloodstock Pty Ltd



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