Star New Zealand-bred mare Verry Elleegant (NZ) (Zed) drew first blood against imported galloper Addeybb, with the top-class duo renewing their rivalry of 12 months ago in a stirring finish to the Gr.1 Ranvet Stakes (2000m) at Rosehill.
In landing her eighth Group One, Verry Elleegant had a length to spare on Addeybb with game pacemaker Angel Of Truth back in third.
Prepared by Chris Waller, Verry Elleegant had come up second best in last year’s Ranvet Stakes behind the William Haggas-trained Addeybb and also chased the British raider home in last year’s Gr.1 Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m).
But the five-year-old daughter of Zed showed she had physically developed over the past 12 months to take the honours on Saturday and set up another mouth-watering clash with Addeybb in the Gr.1 Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m) at Randwick in three weeks.
“She’s a great horse and it’s always hard to gauge when you’re running against horses from the other side of the world who has been flying the flag up there so proudly and beating some good horses. Well done to Mr. Haggas for sending him down because it’s not an easy feat,” Waller said.
“She’s won a Caulfield Cup with international form and she’s brought it to Rosehill too.”
Waller said there were shades of last year’s renewal in the Ranvet where Verry Elleegant looked to have Addeybb’s measure at the top of the straight, but the imported galloper rallied again.
“He fought back at the 300m when we headed him last year and it was the same thing unfolding,” Waller said.
“James (McDonald, jockey) didn’t pull the trigger as early this year, but when he went she quickened and he started coming back.
“I was thinking ‘oh it’s on again’ but gee she was tough the last 100m as she was in the Caulfield Cup, as she’s been in so many of her races. She’s a world class horse.”
Waller said it was unlikely Verry Elleegant would back-up next week in the Gr.1 Tancred Stakes (2400m), a race she won last year.
“I always said that it would be unlikely,” he said.
“We’d go three weeks into the Queen Elizabeth and have a fair crack at it.”
Winning Jockey James McDonald said he hadn’t had that much fun on a racecourse for a very long time.
“She’s amazing, she just keeps coming back every prep,” McDonald said.
“She seems to get faster every time, in terms of she can win over seven furlongs and she can win over a mile and a half.
“She’s a beauty.”
Tom Marquand, who partnered Addeybb was delighted with the run.
“As we kept saying before if we bump into her at her best it’s going to be tough to beat her. He gave his all. This was always going to be a run up to a bigger day and he put his heart and soul into it,” Marquand said.
Verry Elleegant is raced by a group of owners that include her former New Zealand trainer Nick Bishara, who prepared her to win two of her first three starts, and breeder Don Goodwin.
The classy mare advances her record to thirteen wins and seven placings from 28 starts with earnings approaching A$8 million.
By proven Grangewilliam Stud sire Zed, Verry Elleegant is the best of three winners out of the Danroad mare Opulence and stems from the famed Eight Carat family. – NZ Racing Desk