Source : Leo Schlink, Sunday Herald Sun, October 3, 2020
Chris Waller’s imposing Caulfield Cup arsenal has strengthened after the master Sydney trainer delivered a stable trifecta in the Group 1 Turnbull Stakes (2000m) as Verry Elleegant notched her fifth victory at elite level.
Verry Elleegant, $5 favourite, led home Toffee Tongue ($71) and Finche ($5.50) as Waller successes at both Flemington and Randwick underlined the Kiwi’s extraordinary reach.
Waller said the Turnbull Stakes was the launching pad for the October 17 Caulfield Cup as TAB installed promoted Verry Elleegant to $8 favourite over Anthony Van Dyck and Orderofthegarter, who are both quoted at $9.
“She’s (Verry Elleegant) tough, she’s back on track and looking forward to the Caulfield Cup,” Waller said.
“It was very good and they‘re on track for what I’ve set for them,” Waller said.
“Finche was an eye-catching run, he had a wide draw and had to work across and do a lot of work but he was still there at the finish, beaten by a pretty good horse.
“He’ll go to the Caulfield Cup, as will Toffee Tongue. It was her first run against those really good horses and she didn’t shirk the task.”
Ridden by Mark Zahra, Verry Eleegant provided Waller with his fifth Turnbull winner in six years.
The daughter of Zed joins Kings Will Dream (2019), Winx (2017-18) and Preferment (2015) on the Turnbull honour roll in a sequence interrupted only by James Cummings’ Hartnell (’15).
Verry Elleegant impressed Zahra with her tenacity after he was forced wider than anticipated into a sapping northerly.
“She’s a winner, she had her struck right out,” Zahra said as Verry Elleegant added the Turnbull to her previous Group 1 spoils — the Winx Stakes, Tancred Stakes, ATC Oaks and Vinery Stud Stakes.
Verry Elleegant is doing her best work at the business end of the Flemington feature.
“I had the back of Finche and one got under my neck. I was not so happy out there.
“It made me come an extra horse wider but I was outside horses which she likes and I had momentum. She was strong in the finish because it was a ding dong battle up the straight.
“She was going to be beaten but she was too tough.
“Her manners, full credit to Chris and the team. Her manners are so much better now. She’s got a bit of an awkward head carriage, but she relaxes really well and that’s the main thing.”
Stable representative Jo Taylor believes both Toffee Tongue and Finche are tracking well for their spring objectives.
“She (Toffee Tongue) was absolutely fantastic. She was nearly going to upset the whole apple cart there today,” she said.
“He (Finche) was fantastic, probably looking to really step out in trip.
“We know that the Melbourne Cup will be his grand final and he is on target for that. Would’ve been nice to obviously get there, but again, there’s not much in it, is there?”