Rob Heathcote’s special little filly Startantes...
Cox Plate bound superstar Verry Elleegant dug deep and showed her class with a brilliant late victory in the 2021 George Main Stakes results at Royal Randwick with Chris Waller’s mare enjoying her ninth career Group 1 success.
Improving on her first-up second to Mo’unga in the Group 1 Winx Stakes (1400m), Zed six-year-old Verry Elleegant showed exactly what she was made of when adding yet another trophy to the cabinet with a determined performance in the Group 1 $1 million George Main Stakes (1600m).
“She’s a very good horse, it’s as simple as that,” Waller told Sky Thoroughbred Central post-win.
“She’s a difficult horse to train and the team just do a wonderful job with her.
“It’s an honour to train a horse like this.
“All distances, all track conditions, it’s a rare commodity.”
Jockey James McDonald got last year’s Caulfield Cup champion into a lovely position tucked away fourth the fence as rival hoop Rachel King looked to steal the show, setting a strong pace up in the lead aboard the Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott-trained Riodini.
After jumping away well off the inside, Riodini displayed the same front running tactics as in the Group 2 Chelmsford Stakes (1600m) last time out where he ran second to the Kerry Parker-trained Think It Over.
The Chelmsford Stakes winner was also up on the speed chasing the double, settled fourth and then fifth just off the reigning George Main Stakes champion Kolding for Waller who was racing along in second with Shout The Bar settled third.
Verry Elleegant meanwhile improved on the rails up into fourth the inside of Think It Over, with her stablemates Star Of The Seas and Hungry Heart following behind.
With 1000m to go, Riodini was out to a big lead, Verry Elleegant still in that favourable position on the rails.
Riodini slipped out to an even bigger lead looking to go all-the-way once on the straight, but Think It Over down the outside and Verry Elleegant were chasing hard.
McDonald looked to get off the fence aboard the favourite, but was forced to return to the inside where Verry Elleegant was able to knuckle down the final 100m and find a way with her class to run down the tearaway leader and salute for the punters.
In the end, Riodini narrowly held on for second ahead of a likely good run in the Group 1 Epsom Handicap (1600m) with Think It Over rounding out the trifecta in third.
“James was trying to be tactical and have her off the fence…which caused her to over-race a little bit I thought,” Waller said.
“She had to dig deep the last 200 (metres), but that’s when horses like Verry Elleegant start to excel.
“The tougher the contest, the better she goes.
“Hopefully she can get to the Cox Plate.”
The Group 1 $5 million Ladbrokes Cox Plate (2040m) runs at The Valley on October 23 and Waller is no stranger to success in the Australasian weight-for-age championship having enjoyed the historic four-peat with Winx (2015-2018).
Verry Elleegant is currently the $6 second-elect behind Zaaki ($2.50) in all-in Cox Plate 2021 odds at Ladbrokes.com.au.
As for her next-up run, Waller said she would either stay in Sydney for the Group 2 $1 million Hill Stakes (2000m) on Epsom Day (October 2), or head to Melbourne for the Group 1 $1 million Turnbull Stakes (2000m) for a clash with Incentivise on the same day at Flemington.
2021 George Main Stakes Results & Finishing Order
|1||7||VERRY ELLEEGANT (NZ)||Chris Waller||James McDonald||2||57kg||$1.75F|
|2||5||RIODINI (NZ)||Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott||Ms Rachel King||0.81L||1||59kg||$13|
|3||2||THINK IT OVER||Kerry Parker||Nash Rawiller||0.88L||6||59kg||$4.80|
|4||9||HUNGRY HEART||Chris Waller||Kerrin McEvoy||2.58L||7||56.5kg||$21|
|5||3||CASCADIAN (GB)||James Cummings||Hugh Bowman||2.97L||9||59kg||$11|
|6||4||STAR OF THE SEAS (NZ)||Chris Waller||Sam Clipperton||3.63L||5||59kg||$21|
|7||8||SHOUT THE BAR||Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott||Ms Kathy O’Hara||7.4L||3||57kg||$41|
|8||6||LION’S ROAR (NZ)||John O’Shea||Regan Bayliss||22.92L||8||58.5kg||$31|
|9||1||KOLDING (NZ)||Chris Waller||Tim Clark||50.63L||4||59kg||$17|
Table Credit: Racing Australia.
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