Chris Waller has confirmed plans to run his star mare Verry Elleegant in the Group 1 $5 million Ladbrokes Cox Plate (2040m) next month after she secured her ninth elite level win with a rousing performance in the 2021 George Main Stakes.
Second-up off a second in the Group 1 Winx Stakes (1400m) behind Mo’unga, the six-year-old daughter of Zed was outstanding late with her class prevailing in the Group 1 $1 million George Main Stakes (1600m) run on a Soft (6) at Royal Randwick.
Jockey James McDonald got the favourite Verry Elleegant into the ideal position fourth the fence as the Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott-trained Riodini got out to a huge lead looking to score the upset with an all-the-way performance.
Once on the home straight, Riodini and jockey Rachael King were leading by five lengths before the margin was worn down by the chasers Verry Elleegant and the Kerry Parker-trained Chelmsford winner Think It Over.
McDonald looked to get off the fence late aboard Verry Elleegant but was forced to return to the inside and the mighty mare showed her determination and class, finishing strongly to run down the leader and salute.
Riodini was so brave holding for second ahead of his Group 1 Epsom Handicap target over the same track and distance in a fortnight, while Think It Over was also good rounding out the trifecta in third.
“She’s a very good horse, it’s as simple as that,” Waller told Sky Thoroughbred Central speaking of his now nine-time Group 1 winning mare.
“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.
“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.”
Waller will now weigh-up the next-up options for Verry Elleegant who will run on October 2 in either the Group 2 $2 million Hill Stakes (2000m) at Randwick or take on Incentivise in Flemington’s Group 1 $1 million Turnbull Stakes (2000m).
From there she will look to hand her trainer a fifth win in Australasia’s weight-for-age championship, the Cox Plate held at The Valley on October 23 and won a historic four times by Verry Elleegant’s former stablemate Winx (2015-18).
Verry Elleegant currently occupies the second line of all-in Cox Plate betting at Ladbrokes.com.au paying $6 in markets led by a short-priced Zaaki.