By Jon Lees
Australia: The Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe will be “front and square” for Caulfield Cup winner Verry Elleegant in 2021 with the first part of the campaign set to start in Sydney in February.
The Chris Waller-trained mare ended a highly rewarding year, in which she won four G1 prizes, beating Anthony Van Dyck by a head in the Caulfield Cup and then running seventh in the Melbourne Cup.
Verry Elleegant is now on a break but will return to training in the new year to embark on a schedule which will take in Sydney’s top weight-for-age contests before a trip to Europe, according to part-owner Brae Sokolski.
“The Arc dream is still very much alive,” said Sokolski, speaking to the RSN Country Radio Show. “That race is front and square and mission critical for her in 2021.”
He added: “She is fantastic. We turned her out. Her recovery was phenomenal after a very hard Melbourne Cup. She is in great order.
“She will get back into the stables at Rosehill probably in January and work towards a very similar weight-for-age programme to what she did at the beginning of this year, kicking off in the Apollo, through the Chipping Norton, then the Ranvet.
“You would think those races are at her mercy, especially if we get a bit of give in the ground which you typically do in Sydney.”
Verry Elleegant ran five times between February and April this year, winning the G1 Tancred Stakes over 1m4f and finished second three times, twice behind British runner Addeybb in the Ranvet and Queen Elizabeth Stakes.
In the second half of the year she won the Winx and Turnbull Stakes and the Caulfield Cup and was beaten only four lengths in the Melbourne Cup in which she split Cox Plate winner Sir Dragonet (sixth) and Russian Camelot (eighth).
“You think them (Verry Elleegant and Sir Dragonet) and Russian Camelot would be the three leading weight-for-age horses domestically going into the autumn,” Sokolski said.
“They will offer formidable competition to her. She’s the one with the established track record and the proven weight-for-age credentials, the six time G1 winner, so she’s the heavyweight champion of Australian racing at the moment. They have to knock her off her mantle.”
Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe betting (Ladbrokes): 8 Love, Tarnawa, 10 Contrail, 20 High Definition, Mishriff, 25 In Swoop, Verry Elleegant, Wonderful Tonight, 33 bar