Nimalee’s brilliant victory in the Group 1 Queen Of The Turf Stakes has given champion stallion So You Think a third Group 1 winner on Day Two of The Championships, while Damien Oliver has also surpassed George Moore’s Group 1 record as a rider.
The Matthew Smith-trained five-year-old was gifted a terrific steer by Oliver in the 1600m fillies and mares Group 1 race, which saw her race away from Annavisto and a fast-finishing Icebath.
2022 QUEEN OF THE TURF STAKES REPLAY
Smith was able to “finally” record his first Group 1 win as a trainer in his home state, with Fierce Impact winning multiple Group 1 races in Victoria.
“Finally. Not for lack of trying mind you, we’ve had a few swings,” he said.
“I said to Damien in the paddock before the race ‘I think it’s about time we won one in Sydney’ and he was confident. I knew the mare was right so just need a bit of luck in running. It’s a tough race, but she’s a good mare.”
Oliver, who has now ridden 127 Group 1 winners, said he didn’t think about his record-breaking feat throughout the run, but he admitted that it was “pretty good”.
“I didn’t think about that actually, but it’s pretty good,” he said.
Having jumped from barrier two, Nimalee settled down forward of midfield on the running rail, which the winning jockey said was part of his plan given how the track had played throughout the course of the afternoon.
“They haven’t been making up a lot of ground so I wanted to be a bit more productive from the start from the good draw, hold a position,” the hoop continued.
“This mare she’s always very consistent around the place but found it hard to win. But she loved the conditions today, traveled really well in the box seat and gave me a great kick.
“Coming to the turn I knew I was going pretty good. I was hoping it just transitioned into what I was feeling. The leader (Annavisto) gave a good kick but I always felt I was going better than it.”
Race favourite Colette tailed right off in what was close to a career-worst run, with James McDonald saying she just “wasn’t in the mood”.