Damien Oliver celebrates historic win at Randwick

Damien Oliver has celebrated an historic win on Nimalee in the Queen Of The Turf Stakes, the victory taking him to 127 Group 1 victories to overtake legendary jockey George Moore.

The decorated rider didn’t register the feat when he steered the Matthew Smith-trained mare to her 2-1/4 length victory on Saturday but reflected on it as a proud achievement.

“I didn’t think about that actually, but it’s pretty good,” Oliver said.

“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.

“This mare, she’s always very consistent around the place but found it hard to win. But she loved the conditions today, travelled 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.”

One of a select group of jockeys to have won racing’s ‘grand slam’ of the Melbourne Cup and Caulfield Cups, Cox Plate and Golden Slipper, Oliver has been at the top of the tree for more than three decades.

He had been sitting equal with Moore on 126 Group 1s before edging into outright first on the all-time list with Saturday’s victory.

The win was also significant for the under-rated Nimalee, who was rewarded for her consistency with a major.

“Finally. Not for lack of trying mind you, we’ve had a few swings,” Smith said

“She raced really well in Melbourne last prep, fourth in a Group One there and wasn’t beaten far.

“We knew she was right up with these mares, it was just a matter of getting the conditions right and she handled the track well today. It’s a good win.”

Nimalee ($31) defeated Annavisto ($16) with Icebath ($5.50) running her usual honest race for third, another neck away.

Her victory gave sire So You Think three of the four Group 1 races at Randwick with his sons Knights Order claiming the Sydney Cup (3200m) and Think It Over the Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m).

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