Countdown clock is ticking for Australia's darling of the turf - petsitterbank

Countdown clock is ticking for Australia’s darling of the turf

Australia’s best horse Verry Elleegant is just five days away from her comeback to racing following her Melbourne Cup triumph but trainer Chris Waller has cautioned it will be hard for her to win.

The mare steps out first-up in Saturday’s Group 2 Apollo Stakes (1400m) at Randwick and all eyes will be on her.

“It’s really hard coming back to 1400m from those Melbourne Cup marathons and she’s doing it for the second time so it just shows how bloody good she is,” Waller said.

“It’s the second first-up run after running two miles so I wouldn’t be as confident that she’d win.

“I’m not expecting anything first-up. I’m expecting her to warm up second-up and she’ll be at her distance third-up in the Ranvet (2000m) then on to the Queen Elizabeth.”

She did win the Group 1 Winx Stakes over 1400m fresh on 2020 but that was in the spring and not off a two-mile run to end her previous preparation.

Waller said there was only one way she could win on Saturday and it’s out of her control.

“If there’s cut in the ground and good speed on she’ll blow them away over any distance,” he said.

“If it’s a slow tempo she won’t win over 1400m.”

The $4 million Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m) in April at Randwick is once again Verry Elleegant’s grand final but this time she won’t have to face the horse that beat her in the past two runnings of the race – Addeybb.

“It was a bit of a mess last year, the race, and he had better ring craft than us,” Waller said.

“We got ourselves in trouble and that’s Verry Elleegant, who can do that if there’s no speed. We were pretty confident going into the race and it was a bitter pill to take.”

But despite the absence of Addeybb that still doesn’t mean the Queen Elizabeth is Verry Elleegant’s, because a new star has emerged since – Zaaki.

They will be a headline act this autumn and, along with Anamoe, are equal $8 favorites for the Queen Elizabeth.

“That’s good for racing and is what we need as promoters of the sport,” Waller said.

Verry Elleegant’s four-length romp in last year’s Melbourne Cup is still fresh in the champion trainer’s mind.

“It’s a bit of a buzz when you see a Melbourne Cup at Rosehill and your name is on it,” Waller said.

“I think I’ll be on a high from it for the rest of my life. I didn’t realize how much the Melbourne Cup meant until we won it.”


Xtravagant Star dramatically tightened from $101 into $15 for the Golden Slipper and $101 into $13 for the Blue Diamond after winning the Inglis Millennium. Xtravagant Star ($7.50) was somewhat forgotten by punters with barely three per cent of the market as Sejardan ($5.50) took the bulk of the hold.

Shadow Crush ($7) was virtually ignored by punters and the worst backed in the race with only a touch over two per cent of the hold before it won.

Chad Schofield on Xtravagant Star taking out the Inglis Millennium at Randwick on Saturday. Picture: Jenny Evans–Getty Images



I thought he was over the odds in the Lonhro Plate on Saturday as a $14 chance after showing promise at the trials.

He wasn’t suited to the 1000m on the weekend but was doing his best work late and being by Snitzel it’s obvious he’ll get over more ground and could win a nice race over 1400m or even a mile over the carnival.


I can’t believe he drifted from $10 to $15 for the Golden Slipper off his Millennium third placing.

He was caught three deep without covering the whole trip and was entitled to drop off in the final 100m but he kept coming at the winner and wasn’t losing ground on the line.

If he drew a gate he would’ve won and he would’ve firmed for the Slipper.


Many might point to the runs of Captivant, Hilal and Converge as horses to follow going up in distance but Maurice’s Medad went just as good, if not, slightly better than the more highly touted horses.

Bjorn Baker is still underestimated when he comes to feature race wins at carnival time but he keeps popping up and winning good races and this horse might be one who hands him a Group win this autumn.


He ran seventh of eight first-up over a mile on Saturday but wasn’t far off the winner and will look to get over a bit more ground soon.

His jockey Hugh Bowman thought he would take plenty out of that first-up run.

“I just think he needed the day out,” Bowman said. “I did report that he was a bit thick in the wind but that didn’t concern me.”


This horse is flying and has been running well for too long now for it to be a fluke and while he was exceeding the stable expectations at the start of his prep, he’s now a genuine Country Championships type.

He just needs decent speed on which there should be in the big fields of the Country Championships races and he looks primed to run a strong 1400m now.

Sydney Racing

Paulele kicked off his autumn campaign in style at Randwick on Saturday. Picture: Mark Evans–Getty Images


“He doesn’t get it from me or his mother. We don’t know what’s wrong with him. We might need to look further back in his breeding,” said Murray Baker regarding his son Bjorn’s intense winning celebrations.

“Left just none the wiser after that performance,” said Josh Parr after Zambezi River’s dud run in the Millennium.

“It was very painless, really,” Chad Schofield said after Xtravagant Star’s win in the Millennium.

“It’s hard watching him go into the barriers but once he does that you can say ‘we’re a chance here’,” Kacy Fogden said after Maotai’s win.

“At Murwillumbah if I want to teach one of my horses to jump out of the barriers it’s me and one of the staff doing it but in Sydney there’s eight barrier attendants to help you,” Matthew Dunn said



Rider Tim Clark said Plymstock over-raced through the middle stages. He said that while his mount was disappointing in its failure to respond to his riding in the straight, he felt that Plymstock now may be better suited by being stepped up in distance. A post-race veterinary examination revealed the filly to have sustained a speedy cut to the off-foreleg.


Approaching the 800m he was bumped heavily and forced wider by Emperor which shifted out abruptly despite the efforts of his rider. After being forced out in this incident, Sejardan then raced wide and without cover for the remainder of the event.

Sydney Racing

There were excuses for the failure of Sejardan in Saturday’s Inglis Millenium. Picture: Mark Evans–Getty Images


Lady Laguna

She started well from a wide gate and James McDonald was trying to slot in to get cover but Racing NSW Punter’s Intelligence showed that at the 750m Tragara just dug up enough to keep her out three deep with no cover which is where she remained so it was a good effort to almost win as she covered 2.1m more than the winner.

King Ratel

Racing NSW Punter’s Intelligence shows he was 5.6m behind after the field traveled just 20m as he missed the kick badly. He got as far back as 30.3m behind the leader around the 750m. He started to come home and was the only horse to break 11 seconds between the 400m and 200m. His last 600m was run in 34.10 which was 0.61 seconds quicker than the next best which is why he ran over the top of them late.

Shadow Crush

He was giving the leader Sky Command a head start of nearly 17m at the top of the straight according to Racing NSW Punter’s Intelligence and was still a little more than 10m behind with 200m to go. He hit the front with 70m to go and was the only horse who came close to breaking 11 seconds for the final 200m.


He was quickly in an unexpected lead after starting so well and Kerrin McEvoy was happy to take it up and he put in a well-judged ride because his sectionals weren’t that quick. From the 800m to the 600m she ran 11.19 seconds and from the 600m to the 400m it was a touch slower (11.63) so he wasn’t working too hard which enabled him to give a kick and hold on in the straight.

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