Arc challenge back on table for Melbourne Cup winner Verry Elleegant in 2022

Horse Racing Verry Elleegant Melbourne Cup James McDonald
Verry Elleegant: a trip to Europe could considered for Melbourne Cup-winning mare. Photo: NZ Racing News/Bruno Cannatelli

By Jon Lees

Australia: Superstar mare Verry Elleegant could be back on the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe trail following her emphatic success in the Melbourne Cup.

A tilt at Europe’s richest race in 2021 was being pushed by members of her ownership group earlier in the year after the mare had twice jousted with British star Addeybb in Sydney.

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But that idea has been put back on the table for the 10-time G1 winner for 2022 by part-owner Brae Sokolski, who also suggested beaten Melbourne Cup favourite Incentivise could go for the Japan Cup. 

“I was the subject of some mockery when I had that plan to go to the Arc and people were saying she’s a 50-1 shot – well I don’t think people would be saying that now after the performance on Tuesday,” Sokolski told SEN ’s Whateley show.

The decision to stay at home with the Chris Waller-trained Verry Elleegant paid off handsomely when the six-year-old mare defeated Incentivise by four lengths at Flemington with British stayer Spanish Mission third.

Sokolski added: “I’d be surprised if there was a better performance over the 2,400m and beyond this entire year worldwide. If you doubted the fact that she’s world-class before Tuesday, no one in their right mind doubts that now.

“Whether there’s still the opportunity to showcase her on the world stage, I don’t know but I’d still love that. I don’t think it’s beyond the realms of possibility that we could look to run her in an Arc next season. It would be very difficult for her to run in a Melbourne Cup again.”

As a gelding, Caulfield Cup winner Incentivise, whose nine-race winning streak came to an end at Flemington, is not eligible for the Arc but other international options could be considered.

“I’ve always wanted to travel a great horse overseas and represent Australia and he may well be the one.” said Sokolski, whose horses have also won the Everest and Cox Plate.

“The Japan Cup is obviously one that comes to mind, a mile and a half against the Japanese stayers on their own turf. Imagine pulling that off?”

Sokolski was fined A$10,000 [£5,400] by stewards after he broke COVID-19 protocols by leaving the zone reserved for owners to jump into the Flemington mounting yard, a restricted area, to celebrate Tuesday’s win.

He has apologised, saying: “The adrenaline got the better of me. These moments are once in a lifetime.”

• Visit the SEN website

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