The Ben, Will & JD Hayes-trained Cox...
Ace hoop James McDonald said Chris Waller’s gutsy first-up Winx Stakes winner Verry Elleegant deserves her shot at a 2020 Melbourne Cup run over the two-miles this spring.
McDonald partnered the now three-time Group 1 winning daughter of Zed first-up in the Winx Stakes (1400m) last weekend.
The five-year-old also won the Group 1 ATC Oaks as a three-year-old and this autumn’s Group 1 Tancred Stakes – both over the mile and a half – so is only set to improve on her return win as she goes up in distance.
Just how far distance-wise she is extended is up to Team Waller, but McDonald said he would love to see her tested over the 3200m of the iconic Group 1 $7.75 million Lexus Melbourne Cup at Flemington on the first Tuesday of November.
“I’d love to see her over two miles, especially with that turn of foot and her toughness,” McDonald told RSN.
“She definitely gives you that feel. The deeper into the prep she goes, she seems to get stronger.
“I’d love to see her over that trip, or just to give it a go anyway, I think she deserves her chance it just depends on what weight she gets now.”
After her Winx Stakes success Verry Elleegant firmed into the pre-field second-favourite for the Group 1 $5 million Caulfield Cup (2400m) on October 17 at $12 behind only SA Derby winner Russian Camelot ($11).
Whether McDonald will be there in Melbourne for the opening leg of the Spring Cups double or in Sydney for the $15 million The Everest (1200m) at Randwick aboard Waller’s sprint star Nature Strip is still to be decided.
“I haven’t really thought about it yet, I’ll just let the dust settle and let it progress,” he said.
Last spring Waller bypassed the Cup races with Verry Elleegant in favour of a run in The Valley’s Group 1 $5 million Cox Plate (2040m) famously won by her former stablemate Winx a record four times.
She only managed to run 12th behind the Japanese-trained Lys Gracieux, but Waller is yet to rule out another shot at the Australasian weight-for-age championship.
Verry Elleegant is currently paying $10 as the early favourite in all-in 2020 Cox Plate betting markets at race sponsor Ladbrokes.com.au.
As for the ‘race that stops a nation’, futures betting on the Melbourne Cup in 2020 has the mare at
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