Verry Elleegant Claims the Caulfield Cup in a Thriller

Mark Smith - Saturday October 17

A blue-collar mare by a sire that won nothing more than a maiden at Hawkes Bay, repelling the challenge of an Epsom Derby-winning toff by the great Galileo, Saturdays $5 million Group 1 Stella Artois Caulfield Cup (2400m) was a race to savour.

Verry Elleegant repels the challenge of Anthony Van Dyck (Natasha Morello/Racing Photos)

There is not much more you can say about Verry Elleegant other than she is a winner.

The final leg of a 4-timer for Mark Zahra, Verry Elleegant came from midfield to make her challenge down the centre of the track before Hugh Bowman came with what looked a well-timed challenge on the topweight Anthony Van Dyck (IRE).

The pair collared a stubborn The Chosen One (Savabeel) at the 200 metres.

With a 3.5kg pull in the weights, Verry Elleegant toughed out a short-meck win over Anthony Van Dyck (IRE) with The Chosen One three-quarters of a length back in third ahead of the hard-charging Prince Of Arran (GB).

It was the sixth win at the highest level for the five-year-old daughter of Zed, advancing her record to eleven wins, five seconds and one third from 24 starts with earnings of $6,896,044.

It was a first win in the race for Chris Waller as well as Zahra.

"It’s a great feeling, gee she is tough. To win a Cup is amazing,” Zahra said.

Verry Elleegant rounds out a great day for Mark Zahra  (Scott Barbour/Racing Photos)

Waller’s Melbourne foreperson Jo Taylor said it was a dream result for the team.

“She’s just kept maturing, and you would imagine she would continue to do that. Hopefully this year we’ll head onto a Melbourne Cup,” Taylor said.

“The further she goes, she seems to be stronger. She is just a wonderful endurance athlete.”

Speaking from Sydney Waller added:

“You think of all the negatives when you've got good horses around you.

“I thought that weight, 55 kilos, might not sound a lot to those at home, but I can assure you, Caulfield Cup history would suggest mares with 55 kilos don't win very often.

"That just tells you how good she is."

Bred by her part-owner Don Goodwin, Verry Elleegant is the best of three winners out of the Danroad mare Opulence whose granddam Chalet Girl (Imposing) is a half-sister to Danewin and Commands, from the same Eight Carat family of Verry Elleegant's sire Zed.

Goodwin had purchased Opulence for just $14,000 at the 2011 NZB National Broodmare Sale

After missing to Zed in 2016, Opulence has a two-year-old full-brother to Verry Elleegant. He was consigned to the 2020 NZB Karaka Yearling sale where John Chalmer’s Bloodstock, on behalf of leviathan WA owner Bob Peters, had the final say at $140,000.

Opulence has a yearling colt, again by the son of Zabeel, but she was not covered last season.


Race Result - Caulfield Cup Gr1 2400m

Caulfield Track: Soft(6) Time: 2:31.97
Verry Elleegant
T: C J Waller J: M Zahra 55
5m Zed (NZ) x Opulence (NZ) (Danroad (AUS))
Anthony Van Dyck
T: A O'Brien J: J Bowman 58.5
5h Galileo (IRE) x Believe'n'succeed (AUS) (Exceed And Excel (AUS))
The Chosen One
T: M Baker & A Forsman J: D W Stackhouse 53.5
5h Savabeel (AUS) x The Glitzy One (AUS) (Flying Spur (AUS))
Prince Of Arran
T: Charlie Fellowes J: Jamie Kah 54.5
8g Shirocco (GER) x Storming Sioux (GB) (Storming Home (GB))
T: C J Waller J: Damian Lane 54.5
7g Frankel (GB) x Binche (USA) (Woodman (USA))
T: James Cummings J: John Allen 57
7g Pivotal (GB) x Alessandria (GB) (Sunday Silence (USA))
T: Joseph O'Brien J: B Melham 55
5h Australia (GB) x Artful (IRE) (Green Desert (USA))
T: K A Lees J: W Egan 55
8g Medicean (GB) x Qelaan (USA) (Dynaformer (USA))
T: M D Moroney J: Jye McNeil 50.5
5g Bullet Train (GB) x Diamantina Dior (AUS) (Oasis Dream (GB))
Inglis Classic Yearling Sale $32,500
V:Bowness Stud, Young
B: Paul Moroney Bloodstock
Master Of Wine
T: M, W & J Hawkes J: Craig Williams 53.5
6g Maxios (GB) x Magma (GER) (Dubai Destination (USA))
T: L Macdonald & A Gluyas J: W Pike 52.5
4h Dalakhani (IRE) x Khandallah (AUS) (Kitten's Joy (USA))
Inglis Premier Yearling Sale $80,000
V:Mill Park Stud, Meningie, SA
B: L M & P J Macdonald Pty Ltd
T: A & S Freedman J: L Currie 53
4g Declaration Of War (USA) x Livia (AUS) (Galileo (IRE))
MM Adelaide Yearling Sale $65,000
V:Mill Park Stud Meningie SA
B: Sam Freedman/De Burgh Equine
True Self
T: W P Mullins J: Declan Bates 52
8m Oscar (IRE) x Good Thought (IRE) (Mukaddamah (USA))
Toffee Tongue
T: C J Waller J: M J Dee 51
4m Tavistock (NZ) x Bagalollies (AUS) (Zabeel (NZ))
NZB Karaka - Book 1 $500,000
V:Highden Park
B: Dean Hawthorne Bloodstock
Vow And Declare
T: D T O'Brien J: D Oliver 57
5g Declaration Of War (USA) x Geblitzt (AUS) (Testa Rossa (AUS))
Raheen House
T: K A Lees J: D Moor 53.5
7g Sea The Stars (IRE) x Jumooh (GB) (Monsun (GER))
Mirage Dancer
T: T Busuttin & N Young J: C Newitt 55
7h Frankel (GB) x Heat Haze (GB) (Green Desert (USA))
Dashing Willoughby
T: Andrew Balding J: M J Walker 54.5
5g Nathaniel (IRE) x Miss Dashwood (GB) (Dylan Thomas (IRE))
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