G1 Epsom Next for Nimalee
The $400,000 Group II ATC Golden Pendant (1400m) at Rosehill on Saturday produced a great tussle to the line between two talented So You Think mares with seasoned Group I winner Nimalee (6m So You Think x Dezign, by Zabeel) prevailing over the up and comer Palaisipan (5m So You Think x Touch of Red, by Fastnet Rock).
Trained by Matthew Smith, Nimalee won the Group I ATC Queen of the Turf Stakes in the autumn and was third up for a spell for his assignment stripping fit and ready to fire.
Ridden forward by Regan Bayliss she was always out to mean business and was tenacious to the line holding out the determined challenge of Palaisipan to win by a head.
Matthew Smith is keen to get Nimalee back to Randwick next week for a crack at the Group I ATC Epsom Handicap in which she has 54.5kg.
"I don't know if we have backed her up before but she's a big, strong mare, she is a good eater and she helps herself anyway so if she comes through the race OK, we'd definitely have a serious think about it," Smith said.
"She has taken a couple of runs to get her fit this time in and I had to put a couple of extra trials into her as well so it's good to see her today tough it out at the finish.
"She didn't have any favours and she was strong late. Super effort."
Regan Bayliss was full of praise for Nimalee.
"She was in for a dog fight today, she's a top-class mare," he said.
"Hopefully she pulls up well and she's a mighty good chance in the Epsom next week."
A $270,000 Inglis Premier purchase for Randwick Bloodstock from the Millford Thoroughbreds draft, Nimalee runs for Letmar Investments and has the impressive record of eight wins and seven placings from 25 starts with prizemoney in excess of $1.5 million.
Bred by Cressfield, she is a three-quarter sister to Group III placed The Chairman from Dezign, an unraced half-sister by Zabeel to Group II winner Star Fashion from Group II winner and Hong Kong Derby winner Elegant Fashion.
Dezign was one of 204 mares covered last spring by So You Think and has already foaled producing a colt for Cressfield.