Trainer Chris Waller says Caulfield Cup winner Verry Elleegant coudn’t be more ready for the big race

She has room to move and is as tough as nails which gives leading training Chris Waller every confidence his star mare Verry Elleegant just needs luck in running to win the Melbourne Cup.

Waller said the only unknown was the extra 800m the Caulfield Cup winner needs to travel, having stormed to victory over 2400m last month and now needing to get the 3200m of the greatest staying test in Australian racing.

The star five-year-old also collected the Group 1 Turnbull Stakes (2000m) on her way to the first Tuesday in November and Waller said Verry Elleegant, who had a final workout on Monday morning, was ready to go.

“I’m as confident as you can be. There’s a lot of unknowns when you go to a Melbourne Cup,” he said on Monday about his $11 TAB chance.

“The Caulfield Cup was always great lead up form and you’d always follow the winner in to a Melbourne Cup. But things have changed a little bit with the international presence and how they train and nurture their horses.

“But she is a great chance and has come through the Cauflfield Cup very well and I think eveyrobody saw how tough she actually is. That extra 800m is the unknown but what a tough horse we’ve got. She’s won three times over 2400m in very big races, so only another 800m to go.”

Waller was happy enough with drawing barrier 15, which could give jockey Mark Zahra “options.”

“I honestly didn’t want her drawn too close because if she got caught in on the fence she can get a little bit erratic and with Mark Zahra was down there on the fence he’d have nowhere to go. At least he’s got a bit of room to move,” he said.

“She has a great turn of foot, the staying ability is there, it’s just a matter of luck in running.”

Waller also saddles up Finche, the $17 TAB chance which ran fifth in the Caulfield Cup, and seventh in last year’s Melbourne Cup.

It will be the seven-year-old son of Frankel’s third go at winning a Melbourne Cup, and Waller said this could be his best chance after drawing barrier six.

“I couldn’t be happier with the way he looks this morning,” Waller said.

“This is the best barrier draw he’s had. It’s not ideal that he has run in the Cup twice and hasn’t won. But we believe he is a genuine chance.”

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Order of entry, entire field, horses, weights, Very Elleegant, Sir Dragonet

A total of 45 horses remain in the hunt for the 2020 Lexus Melbourne Cup after third acceptances were received on Monday.

As always it will be a mad scramble for the final few spots in the field of 24 for the $8 million handicap.

Wednesday’s $400,000 Bendigo Cup will provide a chance for the winner to get a weight penalty to move up the entry list, while Saturday’s Lexus Hotham Stakes (2500m) provides a ‘win and you’re in’ scenario.

Miami Bound escaped without a weight penalty following her dominant victory in the Moonee Valley Gold Cup.

Racing Victoria chief handicapper Greg Carpenter said while it was an impressive win, she had been well weighted in the Group Two.

“Miami Bound was a strong winner of the Moonee Valley Gold Cup, however she was well weighted under the set weights and penalties conditions of the Group Two race and she will face superior opposition at Flemington on Cup Day,” Carpenter said.

“At 5.5kg under weight-for-age benchmark in the Melbourne Cup, modern history says she already faces a significant challenge to win the race with 51kg.”

The Danny O’Brien-trained VRC Oaks winner didn’t need a weight penalty to make the Cup field, having already been safely inside the top 24.

Key horses not to feature among the third acceptors include Metropolitan winner Mirage Dancer and Cox Plate runners Mugatoo (finished fourth at The Valley), Master Of Wine (eighth) and Buckhurst (10th).

Final acceptances will close at 4:30pm on Saturday with the barrier draw to be conducted from 5:30pm AEDT.


Horse — Trainer — Weight

1: Verry Elleegant (NZ) — Chris Waller — 55.5kg

2: Sir Dragonet (IRE) — Ciaron Maher & David Eustace — 55.5kg

3: Oceanex (NZ) — Mick Price & Michael Kent — 51.5kg

4: Persan — Ciaron Maher & David Eustace — 51kg

5: Anthony Van Dyck (IRE) — Aidan O’Brien — 58.5kg

6: Vow and Declare — Danny O’Brien — 57kg

7: Avilius (GB) — James Cummings — 57kg

8: Russian Camelot (IRE) — Danny O’Brien — 53.5kg

9: Master of Reality (IRE) — Joseph O’Brien — 56kg

10: Twilight Payment (IRE) — Joseph O’Brien — 55.5kg

11: Tiger Moth (IRE) — Aidan O’Brien — 52.5kg

12: Mustajeer (GB) — Kris Lees — 55kg

13: Stratum Albion (GB) — Willie Mullins — 55kg

14: Prince of Arran (GB) — Charlie Fellowes — 54.5kg

15: Warning — Anthony & Sam Freedman — 53kg

16: Surprise Baby (NZ) — Paul Preusker — 54.5kg

17: Dashing Willoughby (GB) — Andrew Balding — 54.5kg

18: Finche (GB) — Chris Waller — 54.5kg

19: Etah James (NZ) — Ciaron Maher & David Eustace — 52.5kg

20: Miami Bound (NZ) — Danny O’Brien — 51kg

21: The Chosen One (NZ) — Murray Baker & Andrew Forsman — 53.5kg

22: Steel Prince (IRE) — Anthony & Sam Freedman — 53.5kg

23: King of Leogrance (FR) — Danny O’Brien — 53.5kg

24: True Self (IRE) — Willie Mullins — 52kg

25: Zebrowski (NZ) — Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes — 52kg

26: San Huberto (IRE) — Matt Cumani — 53.5kg

27: Nickajack Cave (IRE) — Peter G Moody — 53.5kg

28: Platinum Invador (NZ) — Peter G Moody — 53kg

29: Ashrun (FR) — Andreas Wohler — 53kg

30: Hush Writer (JPN) — Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott — 52.5kg

31: Le Don De Vie (GB) — Anthony & Sam Freedman — 52.5kg

32: Skyward (FR) — Trent Busuttin & Natalie Young — 52.5kg

33: Sound (GER) — Michael Moroney — 52kg

34: Azuro (FR) — Ciaron Maher & David Eustace — 52kg

35: Chapada — Michael Moroney — 52kg

36: Carif — Peter & Paul Snowden — 52kg

37: Haky (IRE) — Archie Alexander — 52kg

38: Gallic Chieftain (FR) — Archie Alexander — 51kg

39: Pondus (GB) — Joseph O’Brien — 51kg

40: Schabau (GER) — Robert Hickmott — 50.5kg

41: Attorney (FR) — Matthew Smith — 50kg

42: Lord Belvedere (GB) — Ciaron Maher & David Eustace — 50.5kg

43: Admire Robson (JPN) — Paul Preusker — 50kg

44: Future Score (IRE) — Matt Cumani — 50kg

45: Saracen Knight (IRE) — Danny O’Brien — 50kg

This article originally appeared on and was reproduced with permission.

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Verry Elleegant takes out the Caulfield Cup as Classique Legend wins The Everest at Royal Randwick

Classique Legend has won the richest race in Australia, the $15 million The Everest at Royal Randwick, while Verry Elleegant was victorious in the Group One Caulfield Cup.

Trained by Les Bridge, the grey Classique Legend picked up the $6.2 million winner’s cheque, with jockey Kerrin McEvoy winning the big race for a third time, ahead of Bivouac in second place and Gytrash in third.

Nature Strip and Eduardo led the race early, and the placings stayed the same into the straight, with Eduardo holding the lead inside the 300m before McEvoy moved Classique Legend to the front, to kick clear and win easily.

This gave the 81-year-old Bridge another big win to add to his 1987 Melbourne Cup victory with Kensei.

The slot holder for Classique Legend’s place in the field was the horse’s owner Bon Ho.


Bivouac, trained by James Cummings for Godolphin, came through for second place, worth $2.3 million. Gytrash, with Jason Collett on board, rounded out the placings to win $1.4 million for connections and slot holder Inglis.

“I’ve been telling everyone for three months [it would win],” Bridge told Channel Seven after the race.

“One of my greatest friends was Persy Sykes who I spent a lot of time with. He said it is all in the genes. Some horses just get all the good genes.

“I’m just repeating his words. This horse, he has a girth on him that deep and he just has a big V8 motor. It is unbelievable.”

McEvoy said Classique Legend had a big job to do in a race that was run at a breakneck speed.

“I looked up at the 600 [metres] and they were well in front, they were off,” he said.

“I thought, ‘Far out, if Nature Strip and the companions are back to their best they are going to take a bit of running down.’

“Full credit to my horse. With that cover and soft time of it early, he was able to really power when I asked him. Soon after I was confident I would pick them up.”

Jockey Mark Zahra rode Verry Elleegant to a narrow victory over Anthony Van Dyck (nearest) in the Caulfield Cup.(AAP: Racing Photos: Pat Scala)

In Melbourne, Chris Waller trained his first winner of the Caulfield Cup, as Verry Elleegant held off a fast-finishing Anthony Van Dyck to win the $5 million race, with The Chosen One in third.

Anthony Van Dyck came into the race with a big reputation as a winner of the English Derby.

The Aidan O’Brien-trained thoroughbred came rattling down the outside in the straight to challenge Verry Elleegant, who had hit the front ahead of The Chosen One with 250 to go.

In winning the first leg of the Melbourne spring carnival’s historic Cups double, Verry Elleegant will be one of the favourites to win the Melbourne Cup on November 3.


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Verry Elleegant installed as Caulfield Cup favourite after success

Chris Waller’s imposing Caulfield Cup arsenal has strengthened after the master Sydney trainer delivered a stable trifecta in the Group 1 Turnbull Stakes (2000m) as Verry Elleegant notched her fifth victory at elite level.

Verry Elleegant, $5 favourite, led home Toffee Tongue ($71) and Finche ($5.50) as Waller successes at both Flemington and Randwick underlined the Kiwi’s extraordinary reach.

Waller said the Turnbull Stakes was the launching pad for the October 17 Caulfield Cup as TAB installed promoted Verry Elleegant to $8 favourite over Anthony Van Dyck and Orderofthegarter, who are both quoted at $9.

“She’s (Verry Elleegant) tough, she’s back on track and looking forward to the Caulfield Cup,” Waller said.

“It was very good and they‘re on track for what I’ve set for them,” Waller said.

“Finche was an eye-catching run, he had a wide draw and had to work across and do a lot of work but he was still there at the finish, beaten by a pretty good horse.

“He’ll go to the Caulfield Cup, as will Toffee Tongue. It was her first run against those really good horses and she didn’t shirk the task.”

Ridden by Mark Zahra, Verry Eleegant provided Waller with his fifth Turnbull winner in six years.

The daughter of Zed joins Kings Will Dream (2019), Winx (2017-18) and Preferment (2015) on the Turnbull honour roll in a sequence interrupted only by James Cummings’ Hartnell (’15).

Verry Elleegant impressed Zahra with her tenacity after he was forced wider than anticipated into a sapping northerly.

“She’s a winner, she had her struck right out,” Zahra said as Verry Elleegant added the Turnbull to her previous Group 1 spoils — the Winx Stakes, Tancred Stakes, ATC Oaks and Vinery Stud Stakes.



“I had the back of Finche and one got under my neck. I was not so happy out there.

“It made me come an extra horse wider but I was outside horses which she likes and I had momentum. She was strong in the finish because it was a ding dong battle up the straight.

“She was going to be beaten but she was too tough.

“Her manners, full credit to Chris and the team. Her manners are so much better now. She’s got a bit of an awkward head carriage, but she relaxes really well and that’s the main thing.”

Stable representative Jo Taylor believes both Toffee Tongue and Finche are tracking well for their spring objectives.

“She (Toffee Tongue) was absolutely fantastic. She was nearly going to upset the whole apple cart there today,” she said.

“He (Finche) was fantastic, probably looking to really step out in trip.

“We know that the Melbourne Cup will be his grand final and he is on target for that. Would’ve been nice to obviously get there, but again, there’s not much in it, is there?”



Damien Oliver predicts Frosted’s progeny will be keenly sought after Ingratiating’s impressive Maribyrnong Trial Stakes (1000m) victory over hot favourite General Beau.

“He’s a little ripper. He pleased me in his trials. He didn’t quite get it all together but I knew he had something there,” Oliver said.

“I’ve only ridden two of these Frosteds (sire) — a filly than ran third here at the last meeting and this bloke, and geez they’re really forward and precocious types and I think this bloke has got a good future in front of him.

“It’s always good when they clear out from the rest and you think they’re (Ingratiating and General Beau) two nice colts and this horse has got a good future.”

General Beau will likely be spelled after stumbling on crossing the line, dislodging jockey Jamie Kah.


Filly September Run served notice on the high-profile colts she’d be tough to beat in the Group 1 Coolmore Stud Stakes after another emphatic win at Flemington.

September Run has emerged as a serious straight-track filly in her two runs at Flemington. She easily handled fillies’ grade at her previous outing before comfortably beating the boys in the Listed Poseidon Stakes (1100m).

TAB installed the Chris Waller-trained filly as a $7 chance in its Coolmore Stud Stakes market. Jockey Craig Williams agreed the Exceed And Excel filly could tackle the Derby Day challenge on her performance on Saturday.

“The way she raced today, if they did want to go further with her then I’d be confident that she could handle it,” Williams said.

Sunlight and Nechita in 2018 and 2012 respectively were the last two fillies to beat the colts in the Coolmore Stud Stakes.


Matt Laurie’s faith in Riddle Me That was shaken by a Caulfield flop on September 19, but the trainer’s instincts were rewarded when the gelding won the Listed Paris Lane Handicap (1400m).

“We were very happy with the horse going into his last run and he just went terrible,” Laurie said. “He pulled up poorly and we couldn’t find anything wrong with him so we pressed on and rode him a little bit quieter today. It was great to see him finish off so strong.

“(After last start) I threw a tongue tie on him and hoped for the best.

“I said to Dan (Stackhouse), even on his best this could be out of his depth but clearly it wasn’t. He’s always been very honest and consistent his whole career so we just chose to press on and glad we did.”



Favourite backers got off on the wrong note at Flemington when General Beau was a costly proposition in the Darley Maribyrnong Trial (1000m).

General Beau was crunched from a price of $2.10 in the morning to start a dominant $1.50 favourite, holding nearly five times as much as anything else in the race. Overall, he was responsible for 66 percent of the total investment.

Ingratiating was largely ignored by punters and went $9-$12 although did attract a few decent bets at the double figures late in betting.

BETS: Ingratiating $1,000 e/w @ $12/$2.30, $8,000 e/w @ $11/$2.30

BETS: General Beau $10,000 @ $1.55, $2,000 @ $1.55


September Run was one of the best backed runners all day and did the right thing by her backers in the Seppelt Wines Poseidon Stakes (1100m).

The Chris Waller runner was $2.50 into as low as $2.10 at one stage early in the afternoon, before a late drift saw it get back out to $2.40.

Unleashing a big finishing sprint under Craig Williams, the pair came from last and landed a number of big bets and multis. September Run held more than half the investment on the race and was more than three times as popular as the next pick in the market, Minhaaj ($4.60-$5.50).

BETS: September Run $4,500 @ $2.40, $2,300 @ $2.40, $2,250 @ $2.40, $5,000 @ $2.30 TWICE

BETS: Minhaaj $10,000 @ $5, $2,143 x $2,857 e/w @ $5/$1.75, $2,000 e/w @ $5/$1.75

BETS: Valaquenta $2,000 @ $5.50


Riddle Me That had good specking overnight and into Saturday and landed the money in the Paris Lane Stakes (1400m).

For most of the week double figures were being offered for the Matt Laurie runner with TAB going up $15 on Wednesday. Today, he was $8.50 in the morning but got back out to his opening price.

Begood Toya Mother ($4.80-$6.50) was a drifter despite going around with the most money while Munitions ($6.50) had plenty of admirers as did Fascino ($6) and Legionnaire ($8).

BETS: Munitions $1,000 @ $6.50, $1,000 @ $6

BETS: Legionnaire $1,500 x $2,500 e/w @ $8/$2.50, $1,000 @ $8 MULTIPLE TIMES

BETS: Best Of Days $1,750 e/w @ $9.50/$3.10

BETS: Fascino $1,000 @ $6 MULTIPLE TIMES

BETS: Begood Toya Mother $2,500 e/w @ $5/$2


A fair bit of interest late in the Gilgai Stakes (1200m) came for Zoutori which finished best to land some handy bets.

The Matt Ellerton & Simon Zahra-trained gelding was $5-$4.80 at one stage during the day before getting back out to $5.50 at the jump. Although popular, Zoutori was overshadowed in the holds by Tofane ($2.80-$3.30) which blew in the final 10 minutes of betting. Santa Ana Lane ($4.40-$5.50) was best tried outside the fav while Dollar For Dollar ($12-$7) ran right up to the support for him and nearly landed a nice betting move.

Kementari ($12-$7.50) had his admirers at the price.

BETS: Zoutori $2,500 e/w @ $5/$1.80, $1,000 @ $5

BETS: Santa Ana Lane $3,100 @ $5, $1,000 @ $5

BETS: Tofane $8,675 @ $3.20, $2,000 @ $3.20, $1,800 @ $3.20, $5,000 @ $3.10, $3,500 @ $3.10, $3,300 @ $3.10


Punters were more than happy to be on Thermosphere at the price in the TAB Edward Manifold Stakes (1600m).

TAB went up $4.60 in the morning which was too good to refuse for a number of customers. Such was the weight of support throughout the day, she was bottomed out at $3.30 before starting a dominant $3.60 favourite.

Sitting wide the trip didn’t seem to bother the Godolphin filly, with Damian Lane getting the best out of her to beat Starelle ($26) and Chica Fuerta ($13-$8.50) which ran right up to the support for her.

Of the others, Miss Guggenheim ($5-$4.80-$6) held more than anything else outside the winner and was one of the first horses backed on Wednesday when $9 was on the table.

BETS: Thermosphere $10,000 @ $3.60

BETS: Miss Guggenheim $1,000 @ $6 MULTIPLE TIMES, $1,000 @ $4.80

BETS: Succeed Indeed $3,000 @ $7


Persan was pretty solid throughout the day for the running of The Bart Cummings (2510m).

The son of Pierro was $9.50-$10 and hovered between those two prices for most of the afternoon.

Shared Ambition ($4.60-$5) and Lord Belvedere ($5.50) were the most popular in front of Schabau ($5.50).

Admire Robson ($18-$10) was specked at the eachway odds all day and kept firming throughout the afternoon.

BETS: Persan

BETS: Admire Robson $1,000 @ $13, $1,500 e/w @ $10/$2.90, $1,000 @ $10

BETS: Lord Belvedere $3,090 @ $5.50, $1,000 @ $5.50 MULTIPLE TIMES

BETS: Shared Ambition $2,500 e/w @ $4.80/$2, $2,000 @ $4.60

BETS: Schabau $4,000 x $4,500 e/w @ $5/$2, $2,500 @ $5, $2,000 @ $5 MULTIPLE TIMES, $1,000 @ $5 MULTIPLE TIMES


It was a terrible result for bookies with Verry Elleegant taking out the TAB Turnbull Stakes (2000m).

TAB endured a big loss on the race after Verry Elleegant ($5) went around with nearly double the amount of money than any other runner.

Surprise Baby ($6) had its fair share of support once more while Master Of Wine ($7.50-$5.50) was a notable firmer as was Finche ($9-$5.50).

BETS: Verry Elleegant $5,000 e/w @ $5/$2, $3,000 @ $5, $2,200 @ $5, $1,000 @ $5 MULTIPLE TIMES, $5,000 @ $4.80

BETS: Surprise Baby $2,000 x $3,000 e/w @ $5.50/$2.20

BETS: Master Of Wine $2,000 @ $6, $1,000 @ $6

BETS: Django Freeman $3,000 x $1,000 e/w @ $23/$6


Sierra Sue didn’t attract a great deal of support in the Lexus Rose Of Kingston Stakes (1400m).

The Trent Busuttin & Natalie Young galloper opened the day at $16 and jumped at that same quote. Despite having some backing at the double figures, the daughter of Darci Brahma was largely ignored by punters.

It was Madam Rouge ($5-$3.90) and Perfect Jewel ($4.40-$3.60) which attracted most of the big money and were strong firmers throughout the day.

They were head and shoulders above the others in terms of money held with Rubisaki ($5-$8.50) next best despite being a drifter. Pretty Brazen ($6-$7) was best of the others.

BETS: Madam Rouge $3,000 @ $4.40, $6,000 x $6,500 e/w @ $3.80/$1.65

BETS: Pretty Brazen $2,000 x $3,000 e/w @ $6.50/$2.30

BETS: Savatiano $4,000 @ $10


Favourite backers were hoping Young Werther could get them out of strife at the end of the Flemington card.

The Danny O’brien-trained runner was a heavily tried favourite in the Kirkland Lake Gold Super Impose Stakes (1800m), going around as one of the best tried runners not only at Flemington but across the country.

Young Werther ($3.90-$2.70) was crunched and held more than five times the amount of money than anything else in the race.

The winner, Khoekhoe ($10-$5.50) was one of few movers tried to beat the fav as was Alcyone ($7.50-$5).

BETS: Young Werther $5,000 @ $3.20, $1,200 @ $3.20, $9,300 @ $3, $5,000 @ $3 TWICE, $3,500 @ $3, $3,500 @ $2.80, $4,500 @ $2.70, $3,800 @ $2.70

BETS: Alycone $5,000 @ $5

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Melbourne Cup is ‘mission critical’ for Verry Elleegant


“For me, the two miles she’s going to absolutely relish.

“Obviously Vow And Declare did it last year but if there was a proper weight-for-age horse that was going to be competitive in a Melbourne Cup, I think she’s our best local prospect for a decade.”

Sokolski said the mare was yet to prove she could perform at her best in the spring, having produced her superior form over two seasons through autumn.

“The whole prep [last spring] she wasn’t quite right,” he said.

“She wasn’t doing well, she wasn’t eating as Chris [Waller] would have liked, she never carried enough condition that he could put the requisite work into her and was trying to manage her through the preparation the best he could.

“There is a school of thought that she might be one of those mares that seasonally just races better in autumn. This preparation is going to dictate if that is the case, but if she brings her autumn form into spring, she’s going to be a force to be reckoned with.”

Verry Elleegant is on a Cups path in 2020.

Verry Elleegant is on a Cups path in 2020.Credit:Racing Photos

Sokolski is hoping to have at least three horses in the race, with Finche set to tackle the 3200-metre challenge again this year and Shared Ambition the lightly rated gelding on the rise.

“He’s got the best profile because he’s going to be down in the weights,” Sokolski said of Shared Ambition.

“He’ll certainly stay the mile-and-a-half and there’s every indication he’ll run two miles.


“The biggest challenge with him is just to ensure he gets in. It’s obviously made easier by the lack of foreign raiders but it’s by no means set in stone that he’ll get into the Caulfield Cup without winning one of the qualifying lead-ups.”

Humidor has been sent to Waller after a luckless preparation in Perth for Lindsey Smith, while Kings Will Dream will resume in either the PB Lawrence or the Winx Stakes and is most likely going to target the Mackinnon.

Sokolski added that “D-day is looming” for Thought Of That, who has not reached the same heights as last spring when he stamped himself as a top VRC Derby hope, while Subpoenaed has her sights on a Rupert Clarke.

Sokolski, who part-owned last year’s Everest winner Yes Yes Yes before the son of Rubick went to stud, has also invested in a number of imports.

Bebeautiful, by French stallion Le Havre, has had three wins from five starts and will target mares races this spring for Waller, while Plumatic is a potential Toorak Handicap horse having won a group 2 over a mile at Saint-Cloud.

Sokolski also said New Zealand fillies Safe Passage [Danny O’Brien, Thousand Guineas] and Impecunious [Trent Busuttin and Natalie Young, VRC Oaks] had group 1 hopes this spring.

Meanwhile, Sokolski and a star-studded ownership group will reveal two-year-old colt Jet Propulsion in a maiden race at Canterbury on Wednesday.

The $900,000 son of Rubick is a half to Pierata and is part-owned by Coolmore, Ciaron Maher Racing, Peter Moody, Sokolski and Rosemont Stud.

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