Champion mare Verry Elleegant has earned the title of Australia’s best and favouritism for Saturday’s Winx Stakes with a consistency and will to win that perhaps has left her underappreciated.
Since she joined Chris Waller stable as a three-year-old, Verry Elleegant has won 10 times with eight of those at the top level to leave her only behind Winx in terms of prizemoney earned and group 1 won from the Rosehill stable.
“That is the sign of a very good horse. She has done it over different distances, tracks and track conditions,” Waller observed.
“She has shown over a couple of seasons now and, although she was quirky to start with, she has been able to show she is up with the best again and again.
“She has probably snuck up on us a bit in terms of being that outstanding horse, but you look at that record and she has won [group 1s] from 1400m to 2400m.”
But even with an eight-time group 1 winner, it’s the defeat that hurts and is remembered by Waller. He rarely looks back but the Queen Elizabeth Stakes defeat by Addeybb burns heading into Verry Elleegant Winx Stakes defence.
“That quirk probably got her beaten in the Queen Elizabeth because she needs pace in her races. She just didn’t handle the small field and the tactical race,” Waller said.
“But she is back and ready. You know what you will get, you know she will run well and she’ll continue to get better with each run and once she gets to 2000m she will prove that it will take the best horse in Australia to beat her.”
Verry Elleegant will face 13 rivals, seven with group 1 wins on their resumes, and four of whom are stablemates on Saturday. For Waller it’s the time of year where the expectation is that he wins. It makes it tough to enjoy the opening of the spring.