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Oaks Verry much on filly's radar

3 min read

By Bren O'Brien

With the pedigree to be an Oaks winner, Verry Elleegant (NZ) (Zed {NZ}) passed the first test of her stamina this spring with a hard-fought but impressive win in the G3 New Zealand Bloodstock Ethereal S. at Caulfield.

The race is named after a champion New Zealand staying mare and while this filly has a long way to go to match the deeds of the Caulfield and Melbourne Cup winner, it seemed an appropriate way for Verry Elleegant to notch her first win in Australia.

Having just her second start for Darren Weir, and her first past 1600m, she did plenty wrong early in the race, but thanks to a strong ride from John Allen, was too powerful late on to defeat Aristia (Lonhro) with Sizzlme (Sizzling) third.

Weir was full of praise for Allen after the win, saying he had done a superb job of settling the filly back along the rail after she threatened to over-race.

"He persevered and then he got her head down and got her into a beautiful rhythm and then he let it all unfold in front of him waiting for the gaps." - Darren Weir on John Allen's ride

"She made it hard for him for the first 800, she had her head in his face. It's very difficult for a jockey when horses are overracing like that. He persevered and then he got her head down and got her into a beautiful rhythm and then he let it all unfold in front of him waiting for the gaps," Weir said.

"More importantly, he gave her clear air late and she just builds and builds and builds."

The challenge now for the trainer is where to take her next. The G1 Kennedy Oaks is still 19 days away, and Weir feels she may need another run going into the race.

Verry Elleegant after her win in the G3 Ethereal S.

"Do we go to the Wakeful or the Moonee Valley race next week or do we hope and pray that we've got her fit enough and go straight to the VRC Oaks off that?" Weir said.

"Anyway, it's a nice problem to have."

"I think that (2500m) is a question you don't know until you run over the trip, I would say yes (she'll stay) but sometimes it's not as simple as that I don't reckon."

"Do we go to the Wakeful or the Moonee Valley race next week or do we hope and pray that we've got her fit enough and go straight to the VRC Oaks off that?" - Darren Weir

Verry Elleegant is from a strong staying family with her full brother Verry Flash being set for major staying races in New Zealand. Her dam was a winner up to 2100m, and she is from the family of Cranbourne Cup winner Starmon and further back, the likes of Commands and Danewin.

Weir said that with the filly still learning her trade, he believes she may be a more effective stayer next preparation.

"If she doesn't win this Oaks, there are plenty of other Oaks to look at in the autumn," he said.

Several of Weir's bigger clients bought into Verry Ellegant last month as well as Jomara Bloodstock, while the original owners, including former trainer Nick Bishara, kept 25 per cent of her.

The win was Weir's seventh of the Caulfield Cup carnival, equalling Lee Freedman's 24-year old record.

Connections of Verry Elleegant celebrating her win in the G3 Ethereal S.