The countdown to the Sydney Spring Racing...
Punters that backed Verry Elleegant to claim her fifth Group 1 weren’t left disappointed on Saturday as Chris Waller’s outstanding mare added the $500,000 Turnbull Stakes (2000m) to her growing resume.
In what shaped up to be a thrilling race between the stayers at Headquarters, jockey Mark Zahra managed to walk away with the spoils after staving off a wall of horses and dive for the win at the line.
Verry Elleegant firmed into $5.00 right before the jump coming off a win two starts back in the Group 1 Winx Stakes first-up at Randwick.
The five-year-old New Zealander found things a little tough under James McDonald in the George Main Stakes last start, and was a slight query on Saturday racing on top of the ground.
“Her wet record is a bit better than her dry, but she got in at 55.5kg and she looked spot on the race, so she did the rest,” Zahra told racing.com.
Zahra, who was replacing Verry Elleegant’s long-time jockey James McDonald in the saddle, had plenty of work to do coming down the straight in what was a tightly packed field right through to the finish.
“I had the back of Finche and one got the back of my neck, which I wasn’t so happy about out there. It sort of just made me come an extra horse wider, but I was outside horses wide and it just improved on her momentum,” Zahra went on to say.
Waller has now won five out of the last six Turnbull’s after winning two with Winx prior to Kings Will Dream’s victory last year.
The champion trainer also managed to land the trifecta as Toffee Tongue finished runner-up along the rails, while stablemate Finche battled to the line for third.
“She was absolutely fantastic, she was nearly going to upset the whole apple cart there. Again, a fantastic effort from her, good to see her bounce back. We were a touch disappointed in her last start but took it for what it was and took the fitness benefits,” Waller’s stable representative Jo Taylor said after the race .
Toffee Tongue, who won Group 1 Australasian Oaks back in May, was having her third run back from a spell on Saturday and now appears a serious $5 million Group 1 Caulfield Cup contender.
The four-year-old mare is a $26.00 chance in 2020 Caulfield Cup betting market at Ladbrokes.com.au, while Verry Eleegant looks to follow in Winx’s footsteps by becoming the 11th horse to complete the Turnbull – Cox Plate double.
2020 Turnbull Stakes Results
|1||9||VERRY ELLEEGANT (NZ)||Chris Waller||Mark Zahra||9||55.5kg||$5F|
|2||15||TOFFEE TONGUE (NZ)||Chris Waller||Michael Dee||0.1L||2||53.5kg||$71|
|3||12||FINCHE (GB)||Chris Waller||Ben Melham||0.2L||15||54.5kg||$5.50|
|4||5||DALASAN||Leon Macdonald & Andrew Gluyas||Jamie Kah||0.3L||3||56.5kg||$20|
|5||6||MASTER OF WINE (GER)||Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes||Michael Rodd||0.8L||4||56.5kg||$6|
|6||4||WARNING||Anthony & Sam Freedman||Billy Egan||1L||7||56.5kg||$61|
|7||14||SUPERSTORM||Grant & Alana Williams||William Pike||2L||12||53.5kg||$8|
|8||11||HARLEM (GB)||Tom Dabernig & Ben Hayes||Jamie Mott||2.2L||11||54.5kg||$21|
|9||3||SURPRISE BABY (NZ)||Paul Preusker||Craig Williams||2.4L||1||57.5kg||$6|
|10||2||KINGS WILL DREAM (IRE)||Chris Waller||Jye McNeil||2.5L||8||57.5kg||$21|
|11||13||DJANGO FREEMAN (GER)||Robert Hickmott||Luke Nolen||2.7L||6||54.5kg||$26|
|12||1||VOW AND DECLARE||Danny O’Brien||Damien Oliver||2.8L||10||57.5kg||$26|
|13||7||KING OF LEOGRANCE (FR)||Danny O’Brien||Damian Lane||4.55L||14||56.5kg||$21|
|14||10||OCEANEX (NZ)||Mick Price & Michael Kent (Jnr)||Dean Yendall||4.65L||13||55.5kg||$91|
|15||8||AKTAU (GB)||Michael Moroney||Daniel Moor||14.65L||5||56.5kg||$71|
Table Credit: Racing Australia.
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