Imelda Mary Takes Filly of the Year Series Lead

Following a close eighth in the Karaka Million 3YO Classic (1600m), Imelda Mary stepped back up to 2000 metres on Saturday and again showed her class.
Following a close eighth in the Karaka Million 3YO Classic (1600m), Imelda Mary stepped back up to 2000 metres on Saturday and again showed her class.

Fairytale filly Imelda Mary (NZ) (Ferlax) is now a dual Group 2 winner and the New Zealand Bloodstock Filly of the Year Series leader, courtesy of her victory in Saturday’s $100,000 Group 2 Cambridge Stud Sir Tristram Fillies’ Classic (2000m) at Te Rapa.

She was bought for $3,500 at the 2017 Festival Sale at Karaka by Wayne Hillis, who named her after his mother. She is trained by Hillis, who shares ownership with Chris Delamore and Ross Robertson.

A close fifth in the Group 1 Gavelhouse.com New Zealand 1000 Guineas (1600m) in November, Imelda Mary burst into Filly of the Year Series contention with her victory in the Group 2 Valachi Downs Royal Stakes (2000m) on New Year’s Day.

Following a close eighth in the Karaka Million 3YO Classic (1600m), Imelda Mary stepped back up to 2000 metres on Saturday and again showed her class.

Ridden by Cameron Lammas, she was handily placed in fourth through the early stages of the race. The pressure increased approaching the home turn as a number of fillies made moves from the back, and Lammas went with them.

Hitting the lead 300 metres from home, Imelda Mary looked vulnerable as challengers stormed home after her. But the gutsy filly dug deep and fought them all off, winning by three-quarters of a length. Sentimental Miss (NZ) (Reliable Man) took second, with Queen of Diamonds (NZ) (Savabeel) third.

“She’s a good filly – she had the lead pretty much at the top of the straight today and had to fight them all off,” Hillis said. “She went well dropping to 1600 metres last start, and back up to 2000 today suited her.”

Imelda Mary has now had 15 starts for three wins, four placings and $168,850 in prize-money – more than 48 times her purchase price.

“This is very, very special,” Hillis said. “Age is catching up with Mum a bit these days, but she loves racing and she’s getting a real kick out of this. It’s a fairytale.

“Now we hope this fairytale can continue in the (Group 1) New Zealand Oaks (March 16). I think she’ll go to the Lowland Stakes for her lead-up.”

Imelda Mary earned another 8 points for Saturday’s win, taking her to 16 and four clear of long-time leader Media Sensation (I Am Invincible). Sentimental Miss and Queen of Diamonds earned 4 points and 2 points for their placings, moving them to 4 and 10 respectively.

The Series continues in the $100,000 Group 2 Little Avondale Lowland Stakes (2100m) at Hastings on February 27.

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

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