The Gr.1 Winx Stakes (1400m) understandably means a lot to leading Sydney trainer Chris Waller and he is hoping one of his four runners will be able to secure top honours at Randwick on Saturday.
His stable charge will be led by Kiwi-bred mare Verry Elleegant, who will kick-off her Gr.1 Melbourne Cup (3200m) campaign in the race named after her stable predecessor.
Waller has been pleased with the way Verry Elleegant trialled over 1000m at Rosehill earlier this month and he is looking forward to the spring ahead with the exciting Kiwi.
“She has come back really well,” Waller told RSN927. “I think her chances will be boosted by the fact that it will be a softer heavy track.
“It has been a fine couple of days in Sydney and we are slowly getting back to where we need to, but it’s just been a wet period for six months and the grounds waterlogged so it has taken an age to dry out.
“It will be in her favour on Saturday.”
Verry Elleegant finished fourth in the Gr.2 Apollo Stakes (1400m) first-up in her autumn campaign before going on to win the Gr.1 Tancred Stakes (2400m) and finish runner-up in three Group One races.
Waller believes she has returned stronger and she will once again be highly competitive in Group One features this spring.
“She was only fair first-up last prep, but second-up she was beaten by a nostril in a Group One mile,” Waller said.
“I think that she has got better and we are looking forward to her prep ahead.”
While the daughter of Zed targeted the Gr.1 Cox Plate (2040m) last year, Waller said she showed her staying prowess in autumn and will target the Gr.1 Caulfield (2400m) and Melbourne Cups this year.
“We think that she deserves her chance in those two races (Caulfield and Melbourne Cup). It’s a long way away but there is no doubting her staying ability,” he said.
“If she carried 52 kilos I think she would win both, but she won’t carry that weight. That’s the big query.
“She is an elite stayer, we saw that in the BMW and then two weeks later she franked that form coming back to 2000m in the Queen Elizabeth.”
While Verry Elleegant is the stable’s leading light in the Winx Stakes, Waller will also line-up New Zealand-bred geldings Kolding and Star Of The Seas.
“I can’t believe the price Kolding is paying ($31), maybe it’s because of barrier 18, which he needs to overcome,” Waller said.
“Star Of The Seas ran second in the Doncaster (Gr.1, 1600m). He runs well fresh and handles the soft.”
Verry Elleegant has been installed a $7 third favourite with TAB bookmakers behind The Bostonian ($5.50) and Master Of Wine ($6).