Australia: Verry Elleegant To Say Farewell At The Championships - Horse Racing News | Paulick Report
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Australia: Verry Elleegant To Say Farewell At The Championships

Verry Elleegant

“The Championships” at Randwick were inaugurated in 2014 and the title has never been more apt than this Friday night, when a regal rendition of the Queen Elizabeth Stakes brings this year's two-day event to a climax. TVG's international analyst, Adam McGrath, will again join Sky Racing World's Jason Witham on a live broadcast from the famous Sydney track. Friday night's card mirrors last week's, with four Group Ones amid a 10-race program that gets underway at 9:40 p.m. ET / 6:40 p.m. PT.

Beyond the structure of the two cards that comprise The Championships, mirror images abound. Last Friday night, the brilliant sprinter Nature Strip won his third consecutive T.J. Smith Stakes in his probable Australian swansong. This week could be the farewell to home soil for Queen Elizabeth favorite Verry Elleegant. Both horses are targeting prestigious European assignments: Nature Strip at Royal Ascot and Verry Elleegant at Longchamp for the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe (with a possible appearance in England en route). Both have reached the pinnacle of Australian racing, crowned Horse of the Year the past two seasons. Both are trained by Chris Waller and ridden by James McDonald. Both lost their race prior to The Championships.

The Queen Elizabeth Stakes of 2019 memorably served as the career finale for Winx (also trained by Chris Waller!), as she won her 33rd consecutive race and third straight Queen Elizabeth. Verry Elleegant will also be contesting the 1 1/4-mile race for a third time, but has come up short the past two years in fierce battles with tough English visitor Addeyb. While her international nemesis is absent this time, Verry Elleegant (2-1) has not encountered this Queen Elizabeth Stakes' assemblage of depth and quality. Verry Elleegant's massive haul of 11 Group One victories has ranged in distance from seven furlongs to the two miles of last November's Melbourne Cup, but this championship race within The Championships includes six other Group One winners – four of whom boast multiple G1 victories in the last six months:

Zaaki (3-1), the English import who has taken Australian racing by storm with seven wins from eleven starts “down under.”

Anamoe (7-2), the nation's top 3-year-old who decimated the Rosehill Guineas field last start. Godolphin's private Australian trainer, James Cummings, does battle with brother Edward, who prepares Duais. Both are grandsons of legendary 12-time Melbourne Cup winner, the late Bart Cummings.

Duais (9-2), the “now” horse whose dominant, back-to-back G1 wins have stamped her a horse of the highest quality. 

Montefilia (8-1), who defeated Verry Elleegant three weeks ago.

Friday night's other three races at the elite level:

Coolmore Legacy Queen of the Turf, for fillies and mares at a mile; 19 entered. Colette (3-1) is a multiple G1-winner for Godolphin; Yonce (5-1) brings a 6-for-6 record north from Melbourne for her clockwise and “graded stakes” debut; Icebath (6-1) chases an elusive and thoroughly deserved G1 success. She and Lighthouse (13-1 for LNJ Foxwoods) were 3rd and 8th respectively in last week's 20-horse Doncaster Mile against males. 

Australian Oaks, for 3-year-old fillies at 1-1/2 miles. 18 combatants, headed by a quartet priced from 3-1 to 9-2: Hinged, Gypsy Goddess, Honeycreeper and Pink Ivory. Interestingly, two favorites in Friday night's other three Group Ones previously won the Australian Oaks: Verry Elleegant (2019) and Colette (2020). 

Sydney Cup, a two-mile handicap with 19 runners. The well-weighted Stockman (7-2) holds clear favoritism after filling the exacta behind Duais at weight-for-age. Chris Waller trains Crystal Pegasus (6-1; four straight wins) and Chalk Stream (7-1). The latter makes his third Australian start after being sent from England by Her Majesty The Queen, whose royal silks will grace “Royal Randwick” on a day when the monarch is honored with the showpiece race.   

The Randwick card (AUS-A) will be broadcast live on TVG this Friday night (First Post: 9:40 p.m. ET / 6:40 p.m. PT) alongside cards from Newcastle (AUS-B), Doomben (AUS-C) and Gold Coast (AUS-D). All races will be live-streamed in HD on the new Sky Racing World Appskyracingworld.com and major ADW platforms such as TVG, TwinSpiresXpressbet, NYRABets, WatchandWagerHPIbet, and AmWager. Wagering is also available via these ADW platforms. Fans can get free access to live-streaming, past performances and expert picks on all races at skyracingworld.com. 

About Michael Wrona

A native of Brisbane, Australia, Michael Wrona has called races in six countries. Michael's vast U.S. experience includes; race calling at Los Alamitos, Hollywood Park, Arlington and Santa Anita, calling the 2000 Preakness on a national radio network and the 2016 Breeders' Cup on the International simulcast network. Michael also performed a race call voiceover for a Seinfeld episode called The Subway.

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