‘Sorry to be a spoilsport’ – William Haggas turns down A$10m Addeybb vs Verry Elleegant rematch

Horse Racing Addeybb
Addeybb beating Verry Elleegant, whose owners proposed a $10m match race. Photo: Steve Hart/Racing and Sports

By Jon Lees

GB: William Haggas has turned down a proposed A$10 million (£5.5m) winner-takes-all match race between Addeybb and Verry Elleegant.

The Newmarket trainer has confirmed that in the aftermath of Addeybb’s victory over the Australian mare in the Queen Elizabeth Stakes on Saturday he was approached about an immediate rematch.

The offer from Verry Elleegant’s part-owner Brae Sokolski would have required connections of both horses to put up A$5m each for the clash.

“He did ring and he asked me if I would be up for it, or I could persuade connections to be up for it, and I said really no because the horse was about to leave for Melbourne and we were trying to get him home,” Haggas said, speaking to the Steve Hewlett Morning Show on RadioTAB.

“It’s been a complicated enough trip to get him there and get him home and I wanted to stick to that. We would never have taken that offer up. I don’t think that’s in the spirit of things, certainly not in the best interests of our horse.

“I understand why they want to do that because I think the connections of the filly felt that they didn’t see her at her best and wanted to prove that. I am sorry to be a spoilsport but I want to get the horse home in one piece.”

Addeybb completed his second Queen Elizabeth victory under Tom Marquand at Randwick, taking his score over eight-time G1 winner Verry Elleegant, who beat him in the Ranvet Stakes, to 3-1.

Horse Racing Verry Elleegant
Verry Elleegant: has beaten Addeybb only once, in the Ranvet Stakes at Rosehill. Photo: Bradleyphotos.com.au

Sokolski explained to News.com.au: “Nothing went right for us and while I normally cop it on the chin this time I wasn’t convinced. I thought why not have a crack, and see what William had to say about a match race.

“William said with a bit more notice he may well have been on board and he would certainly have given it plenty of thought.

“We proposed each team putting up five million dollars and the winner took the ten.”

He added: “It wasn’t like we were prepared to just throw money away, we honestly believe Verry Elleegant would beat Addeybb if they went head to head.”

Sokolski has been pushing for Verry Elleegant to be campaigned towards the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe but trainer Chris Waller would prefer she stayed at home.

“I know there is still a strong push from some of the owners at least to be able to get her over there but I think the biggest challenge is what we have to sacrifice if she goes,” Waller told Racing.com.

“I would love to see her race there but maybe this year could be a bit quick with COVID restrictions, because it would be nice to be able to go and see her and go and train her. Hopefully that might make everybody’s decision a bit easier.”

He added: “It’ll all be discussed shortly. I’d love to win a Cox Plate with her – I think she’s close to Australia’s best weight-for-age horse, if not the best. If the trainer got his wish, maybe we can go to the Arc next year.”

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