Grangewilliam Stud celebrated further success in the Gr.1 Melbourne Cup (3200m) when the champion mare Verry Elleegant powered to an outstanding victory at Flemington on Tuesday.
The Waitotara nursery, located about 30km north-west of Wanganui, is operated by Mark Corcoran, who stands trainer Chris Waller’s star six-year-old’s sire Zed.
Verry Elleegant continued the Corcoran’s success in the Flemington feature as Mark’s father John bred Doriemus, who in 1995 famously completed the Caulfield and Melbourne Cup double.
“It’s huge for us, that’s our second Melbourne Cup winner and third Caulfield Cup winner after Doriemus, Verry Elleegant and Silver Bounty also won one,” Corcoran said. “Good grass breeds good stayers.”
Corcoran and wife Jane hosted a Melbourne Cup Day party at Grangewilliam, although COVID-19 restrictions were in place.
“We were limited to 100 people and we got a result so we’ll be having a big night, there’s a way to go yet,” he said.
Verry Elleegant was foaled and raised at Grangewilliam, but her looks as a youngster belied what was to come.
“If she had gone to the sales as a yearling, no-one would have looked at her to be perfectly honest,” said Corcoran, who dared to dream when another Kiwi connection fell into place.
“She demolished them. When James McDonald was announced as the rider a tingle went down my spine and I thought it’s all falling into place.”
A son of the Gr.1 Waikato International Stakes (2000m) winner Emerald Dream, Zed was bought out of Cambridge Stud’s draft at New Zealand Bloodstock’s National Yearling Sale for $400,000 by bloodstock agent Bruce Perry.
Placed with trainer Murray Baker, Zed won one of his four starts and was a one-time Gr.1 New Zealand Derby (2400m) favourite before injury ended his career.
He served his first few seasons at Little Avondale Stud and when the Wairarapa farm had to make room for newcomer Nadeem, there were no takers and Zed was moved on to Erewhon Station, a 35,000-acre beef and sheep property in Southern Canterbury.
The son of Zabeel was there for two years serving Clydesdales and a handful of thoroughbred mares before a few of the Zeds started to make an impression and encouraged Corcoran to strike a deal with Little Avondale to bring him to Grangewilliam.
While Verry Elleegant has emerged as an all-time queen of the Australasian turf, Corcoran is philosophical about what that may mean for Zed.
“It probably won’t do much for him, even though he just keeps leaving winners week after week on all sorts of tracks and over every distance. They might not be the greatest lookers, but they can run,” he said. – NZ Racing Desk