Tue, 08 January 2019
3YO filly Imelda Mary (NZ) (Ferlax) caused a minor upset when she dashed away from her age-group rivals to take out the Gr.2 Valachi Downs Royal Stakes (2000m) at Ellerslie last week to become her sire’s first stakes winner.
The nuggety filly was stepping up from a maiden victory over 1600m at her last-start although she had hinted she was more than comfortable in black-type company with a gritty fifth in the Gr.1 New Zealand 1000 Guineas (1600m) back in November.
A Haunui Farm graduate, Imelda Mary is proof, like many who have won at stakes level, that good racehorses can come from anywhere, with just a $3,500 price tag for trainer Wayne Hillis out of Haunui’s 2017 yearling draft.
The win held special significance for Wayne who named the filly after his mother.
"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 ill-fated Ferlax (NZ) (Pentire) stood for just three seasons at Haunui Farm before an untimely paddock accident just before his first crop hit the Karaka sale ring in 2017. The winner of the G1 Australian Guineas, it comes as no surprise to see his first crop 3YO’s hitting their straps. From just 52 foals from his first crop, he has had 13 runners to date with three winners.
Haunui Farm’s Mark Chitty says, “It was great to see this filly get the result on New Years Day. She has shown plenty of ability from day one and was in the Karaka Million 2YO last year and she is more than likely going to contest the 3YO feature in a couple of weeks.”
Imelda Mary is also nominated for the Gr.1 Al Basti Equiworld Dubai New Zealand Oaks (2400m) at Trentham on March 16 and the way she was finishing off the Royal Stakes, the 2400m trip looks to be right up her alley.
Ferlax’s final crop of yearlings will be offered at Karaka 2019.