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Elleegant mare ready for round two with one of Europe's best - Paul Vettise TND AusNZ

Outstanding mare Verry Elleegant (NZ) (Zed {NZ}) showed she was in the right form to renew her upcoming rivalry with a European star at the upcoming The Championships after another gritty display to win the G1 TAB Chipping Norton S. at Randwick.

The Chris Waller-trained Verry Elleegant was locked in a five-way home straight battle for top honours in the Chipping Norton and she dug deepest to prevail and set her up for re-matches with Addeybb (Ire) (Pivotal {GB}).

The William Haggas-prepared Addeybb had the upper hand 12 months ago when he completed the Group 1 double of the Ranvet S. and the Queen Elizabeth S. and Waller is plotting reversals of those results this time around.

Image courtesy of Ashlea Brennan

“I can’t believe he’s allowed to come out under the current circumstances,” Waller joked. “But look, he was a great horse last year and he franked her form.

“He went back home and won on Champions’ Day, which is a great day in European racing. He franked her form and she franked his form in beating the Coolmore horse in the Caulfield Cup.”

Top-class form

Waller was referring to Addeybb’s victory in the G1 Champion S. at Ascot and Verry Elleegant accounting for the late Anthony Van Dyck (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}).

“She’s competitive whatever she runs in and obviously every race is important. The next race is the Ranvet in three weeks’ time and she’ll probably back up a week late in the Tancred like she did last year,” he said.

“That’s what we’ll be thinking on what she has done, but maybe we’ll have the confidence to go three weeks into the Queen Elizabeth. She’s the right horse to be doing that with.”

Verry Elleegant settled in fifth spot off the fence on Saturday and moved into contention soon after straightening. Five live chances were spread across the track 200 metres from home, but she wasn’t to be denied and won out in a driving finish for rider James McDonald.

“She’s obviously a very good horse and I think everybody saw her fighting qualities today. I thought Colette had her cold at the 300 metre mark and then I saw Avilius coming with a well-timed run,” Waller said. “She was in the middle of them and dug very deep, she’s a tough mare.”

The James Cummings-trained Colette (Hallowed Crown) fought tooth and nail before going under by 0.2l and her stablemate Avilius (GB) (Pivotal {GB}) produced a top first-up effort for third with the Waller pair of Funstar (Adelaide {Ire}) and Kolding (NZ) (Ocean Park {NZ}) close up in fourth and fifth respectively.

Verry Elleegant has now won seven Group 1 titles and continues to surprise Waller.

Image courtesy of Ashlea Brennan

“She looked amazing in the parade ring and I don’t think I’ve ever said that before,” he said. “She just fights like a tiger and I think it was fitting the race was fought out that way, it really shows the quality of Verry Elleegant.

“When you count that she’s won a Group 1 at 1400 metres, the Oaks and the Caulfield Cup with a pretty big weight for a mare - they don’t get much better.”


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