A Seventh Group 1 for the Wonderful Verry Elleegant

Mark Smith - Saturday February 27

Five horses with a fierce will to win provided a wonderful spectacle to the finish of Saturday’s Group 1 Chipping Norton Stakes at Randwick, but when the chips are down there are few horses you want on your side more than Verry Elleegant.

What a finish (image Steve Hart)

Kolding, Funstar, Colette, Avillius (GB) and Verry Elleegant were lined across the track at the 200 metres.

When it looked as if Verry Elleegant had topped on her run, the Chris Waller-trained daughter of Zed dug deep to defeat Colette (Hallowed Crown) by a half-neck with a head back to Avilius (GB) (Pivotal) in third.

It was the seventh win at the highest level for Verry Elleegant who advances her record to twelve wins, five seconds and two thirds from 27 starts with earnings of $7,427,744.

“She’s obviously a very good horse and I think everybody saw her fighting qualities today,” Waller said.


“I thought Collette had us cold at the 300m mark and then I saw Avilius coming with a well-timed run and she was in the middle of them. Yeah, she dug very deep, it was a good tough win.

“She looked amazing in the parade ring today and I don’t think I’ve ever said that before. She’s just an unassuming girl that just fights like a tiger and I think it was fitting to be fought out that way because that really is the quality of Verry Elleegant.

“When you count 1400m Group 1’s and Oaks’ and Tancred Stakes year after year after year and the Caulfield Cup with a pretty big weight for a mare, they don’t get much better.

“The next stage is the Ranvet in three weeks time and she’ll probably back up the week later in the Tancred like she did last time. That’s what we’d be thinking based on what she did last year or maybe we have a bit more confidence and go three weeks into the Queen Elizabeth. But she’s the right horse to make decisions when you need to.”

Waller added that he was not overly enthusiastic in a rematch with Addeybb in the Queen Elizabeth.

 “He was a great horse last year, and he franked her form. He went back home and won on Champions day which is such a big day in European racing and he franked her form and she franked it again beating the good Coolmore horse in the Caulfield Cup. So, it’s world class form.”

Winning jockey James McDonald said he was confident Verry Elleegant would find enough to win the race.

“I’ve been in those scenarios before with her," McDonald said. 

"She seems to come out on top more times than not. I knew once she was on, that last 100m the tough would get going. Very proud of the mare. I have a soft spot for her. I just hope, well I know as the distances get further she will get better.”

Verry Elleegant James McDonald (image Steve Hart)

Bred by her part-owner Don Goodwin, Verry Elleegant is the best of three winners from four to race 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. She was not covered in 2019 but visited Zed again last spring.



Race Result - Tab Chipping Norton Stakes Gr1 1600m

Randwick Track: Soft(5) Time: 1:35.49
Verry Elleegant
T: C J Waller J: J B Mc Donald 57
5m Zed (NZ) x Opulence (NZ) (Danroad (AUS))
T: James Cummings J: Rachel King 57
4m Hallowed Crown (AUS) x Libretto (IRE) (Singspiel (IRE))
Hallowed Crown
T: James Cummings J: N Rawiller 59
7g Pivotal (GB) x Alessandria (GB) (Sunday Silence (USA))
T: C J Waller J: G Boss 57
4m Adelaide (IRE) x Starspangled (IRE) (Danehill (USA))
Inglis Australian Easter Yearling Sale $80,000
V:Bowness Stud, Young
B: Anton Koolman Bloodstock Pty Ltd
T: C J Waller J: J Bowman 59
5g Ocean Park (NZ) x Magic Star (AUS) (Danzero (AUS))
NZB Premier Yearling Sale $170,000
V:Wentwood Grange
B: Mulcaster Bloodstock
Master Of Wine
T: M, W & J Hawkes J: Tommy Berry 59
6g Maxios (GB) x Magma (GER) (Dubai Destination (USA))
Southern France
T: C Maher & D Eustace J: J R Collett 59
6g Galileo (IRE) x Alta Anna (FR) (Anabaa (USA))
Toffee Tongue
T: C J Waller J: B Avdulla 57
4m Tavistock (NZ) x Bagalollies (AUS) (Zabeel (NZ))
NZB Karaka - Book 1 $500,000
V:Highden Park
B: Dean Hawthorne Bloodstock
Prince Fawaz
T: A J Cummings J: T Marquand 59
4h Fastnet Rock (AUS) x Lady Paget (AUS) (Testa Rossa (AUS))
MM Gold Coast Yearling Sale $220,000
V:Baramul Stud Widden Valley NSW
B: Anthony Cummings Thoroughbreds
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