The decision to apply raceday ear muffs to Verry Elleegant paid immediate dividends on Saturday when the classy filly scored an explosive win in the Group I Vinery Stud Stakes (2000m) at Rosehill.
Noted as a filly that overdoes it in her races, trainer Chris Waller removed the nose roll and replaced it with ear muffs during the race on the daughter of Zed (NZ) after she’d shown she relaxed better with that attire during trackwork.
The decision to make the adjustments had the desired effect, Verry Elleegant ($2.05 fav) travelled kinder back in the field then when set alight by James McDonald, put the race to bed in a matter of strides, scoring by 1-3/4 lengths from the fast-finishing Frankely Awesome ($26). Aristia ($11) was another 1-1/4 lengths back in third.
“Having the confidence to take gear off and put extra gear on is easy when you’re training winners but we needed to make sure we could tell the punters when you’ve got a favourite going into a Group I race ‘don’t worry, we’ve put the ear muffs on just to help her relax and taken the nose roll off because it wasn’t doing anything’,” Waller said.
“It’s worked out pretty well but obviously the horse has got talent.”
The victory gave Waller his first win in the Vinery Stud Stakes leaving only the Golden Slipper and the Coolmore Classic as his home track Group Is he’s yet to win.
Waller ruled out backing Verry Elleegant up next week in the Australian Derby where she holds an entry saying, “I don’t think she likes the seven-day back-up, hence the reason why she didn’t run in the Australian Guineas so I wouldn’t tempt backing her up in a week” but Frankely Awesome may back up.
The Kris Lees-trained daughter of Frankel firmed for from $15 into $11 for the $2 million feature.
“She was really good. She’s nominated for the Derby and Kris has always had it in the back of his mind,” Lees stable foreman Lucas Miller said.
“It was pretty evident today she’s looking for the ground and if she comes through today you might see her at Randwick next week.”
Verry Elleegant firmed from $4.50 into $3 favourite for the Australian Oaks with Frankely Awesome and Aristia trimming into $8. – Racenet.com.au