(By John Jenkins)
The stock of Wanganui-based stallion Zed have been in outstanding form in the past three days with four Australasian winners produced by the sire, including one at Group 1 level and one at Group 2.
Verry Elleegant became the stallion’s second Group 1 winner when she scored a dominant 1-3/4 length victory in Saturday’s $A500,000 Vinery Stud Stakes (2000m) at Rosehill in Sydney.
On the same day Awapuni-trained warhorse Jacksstar took out the Group 2 $100,000 Awapuni Gold Cup while at Waipukurau last Thursday the stallion was also represented by the winners Charlie Zulu and Marietta Lane
Zed, a son of champion sire Zabeel out of the Group 1 winning Danehill mare Emerald Dream, stands at Grangewilliam Stud for a modest fee of $4000 plus GST.
Survived credited the sire with his first Group 1 success when he took out the 2013 Makfi Challenge Stakes (1400m) at Hastings.
Verry Elleegant was recording her fifth win when taking out Saturday’s Sydney feature and has only twice failed to return a dividend from 10 starts. She has progressed from a maiden winner over 1400m at Ruakaka at the beginning of this season to now being the $2.50 favourite for the Group 1 $A1million Australian Oaks (2400m) at Randwick on Saturday week.
After starting out in the Auckland stable of Nick Bishara, Verry Elleegant was sold after two wins and a second from her first three starts and sent across the Tasman. She won the Group 3 Ethereal Stakes (2000m) at Caulfield in October for Darren Weir before being transferred to the stable of top Sydney trainer Chris Waller, who has now prepared her for back-to-back victories.
Waller said after Saturday’s win the daughter of Zed was “very smart” but that she just needed a little bit of working out as she had tended to over-race on occasions. The filly raced in a nose roll when winning over 1500m at Rosehill a fortnight ago but Waller decided to change her gear again last Saturday, removing the nose roll and adding ear muffs.
“It takes confidence to take gear off and put some on but we put the ear muffs on to get her to relax and took the nose roll off because it just wasn’t doing anything,” Waller said.
Ex-pat New Zealand jockey James McDonald has ridden Verry Elleegant in her last two starts and is quickly building an affinity with the filly. He got her to settle well behind midfield in Saturday’s race before improving her around the field coming to the home turn.
Once in the straight Verry Elleegant showed great acceleration in the heavy track conditions to quickly take control and kept up a strong run to the line to win by 1-3/4 lengths.
The win brought up the 98th Group 1 training victory for Chris Waller and he seems certain to bring up the magical 100 over the two days of “The Championships”, which begin at Randwick next Saturday.