Ex-Kiwi filly Verry Elleegant wins trainer Chris Waller his 99th Group 1 trophy with victory in the 2019 Group 1 $1m Heineken 3 Australian Oaks (2400m) on Day Two of The Championships at Randwick today.
Jockey James McDonald had to navigate a winning path from an awkward barrier in the fourteen horse Australian Oaks field but succeeded with a first class job in the saddle.
McDonald settled the sometimes erratic Verry Elleegant in the second half of the field, one off the fence and he kept a close eye on the leading division from the outset.
Hugh Bowman wasn’t happy with the early pace and circled the field on Frankely Awesome ($5) to take up the running at the 1200m mark and led the field into the straight.
McDonald started to make his move approaching the home turn and eased Verry Elleegant to the outside at the 300m mark to make her winning run.
Verry Elleegant was happy out in the open spaces and powered down the middle of the Randwick straight to record a one and three quarter lengths win over Scarlet Dream ($12).
Frankly Awesome tried hard in the run to the line to hold on for third.
Verry Elleegant was sent out as the short priced $2 favourite and the punters were cheering a long way from home.
Waller was quick to applaud the winning ride of McDonald who had Verry Elleegant well positioned in the run to the first turn out of the straight.
“It was a great ride from James McDonald, the barrier was very difficult and to be one off the fence going part the winning post the first time was pretty special. You can’t account for how far they have to travel sitting three wide,” Waller said.
“That was a brilliant win. She is a very exceptional filly. I think the best is yet to come. I’m very lucky to be training her. She’s come from Darren Weir and that team had done a fantastic job when she was handed over. I do respect that regardless of what has happened.”
“My team have done a fantastic job as well to get her to switch off and settle in a Group 1 Oaks today. Hats off to my riders at home. I think that’s been a big help.”