Last season’s Australian Oaks winner Verry Elleegant will step out a bigger and stronger mare when she kicks off her 2019 Spring Carnival campaign in the Group 1 $500,000 Winx Stakes (1400m) at Randwick on Saturday.
Trainer Chris Waller took over the training of Verry Elleegant at the beginning of the 2019 Autumn Carnival and the former Darren Weir trained filly was only beaten once from four starts for her new stable when a first up second in the Group 3 $160,000 The Vanity (1400m) at Flemington on February 16.
Verry Elleegant then strung together a hat trick of wins with victories in the Group 2 $200,000 Chandon S Phar Lap Stakes (1500m) and in the Group 1 $500,000 Vinery Stud Stakes (2000m) at Rosehill and in the Group 1 $1m Heineken 3 Australian Oaks (2400m) at Randwick on Day Two of The Championships on April 13.
Waller has given Verry Elleegant two barrier trials for a sixth at Warwick Farm and fifth at Rosehill and the premiership winning trainer was happy with her work at Rosehill this morning.
“Verry Elleegant wasn’t there (on Saturday) but she did gallop this morning and galloped very well. James McDonald was aboard and gave me the thumbs up post work,” Waller told Sky Racing.
Waller is confident that Verry Elleegant has overcome her bad habit of not keeping a straight course at the end of her races and doesn’t expect to see that tendency when she resumes in the Winx Stakes.
“I think she did (relax better) last prep in terms of relaxing much better so I think we have the benefit of that on our side whereas last preparation we were juggling mid race with gear so we seem to have a good platform now,” Waller said.
“Starting them over 1400m is always a bit easier as well, they are out of their comfort zone in terms of speed.”
“I am really happy with where she is at. The only difference is that she is a bit stronger, wouldn’t say she has gone overboard, didn’t put on lots and lots of weight, but she certainly looks bigger and stronger.”
Waller could have up to four runners in the race named after his champion mare Winx with Youngstar, Unforgotten and Kings Will Dream also nominated for the Winx Stakes.
Youngstar, Unforgotten and Kings Will Dream all had a solid gallop on Saturday morning and Waller is happy with their preparation to date.
“They have had a trouble free Winter and Spring is upon us now and the weather has been really good in terms of preparing horses,” Waller said.
“Those horses came out of their gallops on Saturday well.”
Verry Elleegant is the most fancied of the four Waller gallopers in the pre-post betting for the Winx Stakes and Ladbrokes.com.au have the 2019 Australian Oaks winner marked as the $4.20 second favourite behind the James Cummings trained Avilius.
Waller’s other three are all at double figure odds with Unforgotten at $12, Kings Will Dream at $15 and Youngstar at $21.
Early betting for the 2019 Winx Stakes at Ladbrokes.com.au: $3.30 Avilius, $4.20 Verry Elleegant, $4.80 Alizee, $5 Happy Clapper, $10 Invincible Gem, $12 Sesar, Unforgotten, $14 Best Of Days, $15 Kings Will Dream, Le Romain, $16 Dreamforce, $21 Youngstar, $31 Samadoubt, $251 Gala Moshea.