The Ben, Will & JD Hayes-trained Cox...
Champion mare Verry Elleegant further stamped herself as one of history’s greatest Australian racehorses with her incredible 11th Group 1 success defending her title in the 2022 Chipping Norton Stakes results in the wet.
Before today the star daughter of Zed had won 10 individual Group 1 races, including her Melbourne Cup success over the two miles at HQ last November.
She added to that figure second-up improving on an unplaced run fresh in the Apollo to go back-to-back in the Group 1 $600,000 Chipping Norton Stakes (1600m) on a rain-soaked Royal Randwick track.
“It’s touching me a little. Just an amazing horse to work with. Blessed in the position I am to work with these great horses,” Waller told Sky Thoroughbred Central.
With the rain easing for the first time that day, the crowds appeared to watch the heroic effort of Verry Elleegant who fought off a late challenge by the fast-finishing Bjorn Baker-trained She’s Ideel to win the same Group 1 twice for the first time in her outstanding career.
Waller celebrated a record 10th Chipping Norton Stakes success and his 132nd career Group 1, while jockey James McDonald took his elite level tally to 62.
“She’s an absolute star,” McDonald told the media post-victory.
“I just can’t believe every time we turn up for a preparation she just seems to get better and better.
“I know it’s crazy to say but she literally is. For her to pull out all stops at these kinds of trips is incredible.
“Obviously, the wet track has helped her but she’s a star, she’s an absolute star.
“I’m so lucky to be a part of it.”
It was a race void of pace the early stages with a muddling speed on the Heavy (10) course and McDonald sat just off the front runners biding his time on the proven mudlark.
Angel Of Truth went out in four-wide position to roll forward and eventually take up the lead, while Colette was surprisingly taken forward up on the fence.
Verry Elleegant was three-wide with cover in the second half of the field, inching closer at the 600m.
She came four-wide down the straight while the mare considered the main danger, Colette, was pinned away near the inside unable to get out.
The champion started to extend the closing stages, Verry Elleegant ($2.50F) hitting the lead inside the final furlong and lifting late to fend off roughie hope She’s Ideel ($71), eye-catching with the blinkers back on, in a fighting finish.
“She’s a real piece of work,” Waller said of Verry Elleegant.
“She fights like a tiger and lifts to another level, that’s just her.
“She’s in for a great prep.”
The Hawkes Racing-trained fellow outsider in betting Angel Of Truth ($61) also put in a bold effort and held for third after his on pace performance finishing just ahead of Kerry Parker’s Apollo winner Think It Over ($4.80).
It was an unbelievably adaptive performance from VE who still has plenty of improvement to come as she again heads towards the Group 1 $700,000 Ranvet Stakes (2000m) at Rosehill on March 19 and then the Group 1 $4 million Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m) on April 9 back at Randwick.
“That’s always been the plan obviously the All-Star Mile is there as well, but that was always the plan to go to the Ranvet and then the Queen Elizabeth,” Waller confirmed.
“So, it’s three weeks and then three weeks (between runs) so it just works out perfectly.”
Verry Elleegant ran second in the 2020 Chipping Norton, Ranvet Stakes and Queen Elizabeth Stakes results two years back.
Last Sydney Autumn Racing Carnival she completed the Chipping Norton – Ranvet Stakes double before another second in the Queen Elizabeth Stakes behind Addeybb on Day 2 of ‘The Championships’.
This season she is also among the Top 10 vote-getters for Flemington’s $5 million The All-Star Mile (1600m) on March 19 and she’s the $5 second favourite in early betting, available here.
She is at a current quote of $3 also leading futures markets on the Queen Elizabeth Stakes 2022, which can be found in full here.
2022 Chipping Norton Stakes Results & Finishing Order
|1||8||VERRY ELLEEGANT (NZ)||Chris Waller||James McDonald||3||57kg||$2.50F|
|2||12||SHE’S IDEEL||Bjorn Baker||Ms Rachel King||0.14L||5||57kg||$71|
|3||5||ANGEL OF TRUTH||Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes||Jay Ford||1.34L||9||59kg||$61|
|4||1||THINK IT OVER||Kerry Parker||Nash Rawiller||1.37L||6||59kg||$4.80|
|5||3||TOP RANKED (IRE)||Annabel Neasham||Hugh Bowman||1.41L||7||59kg||$10|
|6||13||DUAIS||Edward Cummings||Joshua Parr||1.63L||1||57kg||$101|
|7||10||MONTEFILIA||David Payne||Jason Collett||2.61L||4||57kg||$17|
|8||9||COLETTE||James Cummings||Tim Clark||2.75L||2||57kg||$3.60|
|9||4||MOUNT POPA (IRE)||Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes||William Pike||2.82L||10||59kg||$41|
|10||6||STOCKMAN (NZ)||Joseph Pride||Sam Clipperton||4.66L||8||59kg||$26|
|7||MAXIMAL (GB)||John O’Shea||Brenton Avdulla||0|
|2||KOLDING (NZ)||Chris Waller||Regan Bayliss||0|
|11||HUNGRY HEART||Chris Waller||Chad Schofield||0|
Table Credit: Racing Australia.
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