Spring Racing Contenders: Verry Elleegant stars in Winx Stakes

Verry Elleegant
Verry Elleegant turned in a breathtaking performance to win her fourth Group 1 race.

It was certainly an eventful Saturday in the racing world with the return of Group 1 action in Sydney, while torrential rain in Melbourne bought a premature end to the card. We take a look at the ones we want to follow out of Saturday in some bigger races in the 2020 Spring Racing Carnival.

Verry Elleegant returns in very good order

The Group 1 Winx Stakes was the highlight of Australian racing on Saturday as Chris Waller won it again with his star mare, Verry Elleegant. After being caught wide throughout, James McDonald had to get the best out of the five-year-old when stablemate Star Of The Seas loomed up on the outside and looked to be the winner at numerous times in the home straight.

The fourth placegetter, Imaging, also from the Waller yard, was hugely unlucky, turning in last at the turn to find the backside of multiple runners. He arguably should have won the race and will be one to be on next start.

Of the rest, the Hawkes-trained Zebrowski hit the line very well coming from the rear of the field of eight, beaten just under 5L at a distance much shorter than his best. We think Zebrowski is worth following this campaign as he steps up in distance, potentially on a Cups campaign.

Best Bets

George Main Stakes (Sep 19) – Imaging @ $11
Metropolitan Handicap (Oct 3) – Zebrowski @ $10


Dame Giselle edges Thermosphere in Silver Shadow

The Group 2 Darley Silver Shadow was filled with drama when race favourite See You Soon refused to load and was scratched behind the gates. Our top pick for the race, Thermosphere, was a big drifter in the market, nearly doubling her original quote to SP at $17. It was Dame Giselle who got the spoils in the end, winning by 0.2L over Thermosphere with a 2L margin back to third.

Dame Giselle controlled the race and was too good in the end, while the fast-finishing Thermosphere showed plenty. Those fillies are the only two we want to follow out of that race, as they look to be pushing towards the top of the list in the bigger races this spring.

Best Bet

Flight Stakes (Oct 3) – Thermosphere @ $11


Funstar beats strong field in Show Quality County

The Group 3 Show County Quality saw some quality horses return to the track and also produced a runner we are very keen to follow.

Godolphin’s Roheryn came out on top of Probabeel and Special Reward, who was game in defeat. Race favourite and Epsom Handicap hope Funstar finished off well for sixth after getting a mile back in the run down the outside. Rank outsider Looks Like Elvis ($71) finished last in the run, but he’s the one we want to be on this campaign with new trainer Jarrod Austin.

The All American gelding takes south some very solid Queensland form as well as a midfield placing in last year’s Turnbull Stakes at Flemington. The 1200m was always going to be too sharp for him first up, but the way he trucked along behind suggested he is going very well. He pinged the lids before being restrained to the rear and had no clear running room.

We aren’t sure where Looks Like Elvis goes to next, but pop him in your blackbook because he will be a sneaky each-way bet in his next couple of runs. Keep a close eye on him here in the pink silks at the tail of the field when they settle. Probabeel also returned in brilliant fashion and will appreciate 1400m and beyond.

Muddy Melbourne cuts short Moonee Valley meeting

Only the first five races survived at The Valley on Saturday after heavy rain caused an abandonment of the Carlyon Stakes meeting. There was only one recipe to success, and that was to lead at all costs, with the five winners either leading or sitting outside of the leader.

We don’t think that there is a great deal to take away from the meeting given the conditions, but James Cummings’ smart mare Tailleur continued on her winning ways in impressive fashion. A dual acceptor in both Sydney and Melbourne, Cummings elected to take her for a look around Moonee Valley, which suggests they might have bigger targets in mind with her.

A winner of three from four heading into Saturday’s assignment, Tailleur was sent out as the shortest-priced favourite of the day and certainly justified that with a 6L win. She was aided by the track bias, but she ran 1.02 seconds quicker than the other 1200m race on the program despite being eased down over the final 50m. She may not have beaten any superstars, but she certainly was impressive and looks to be a budding star herself.

Sportsbet added Tailleur into their Moir Stakes betting market as an $11 chance for the Moonee Valley feature scheduled for September 25, but odds are currently suspended after the announcement of Loving Gaby’s retirement on Tuesday morning. Once the markets return, we expect Tailleur to come into around $7.

Best Bet

Moir Stakes (Sep 25) – Tailleur @ $11


Horses to add to your Black Book

  • Imaging
  • Looks Like Elvis
  • Probabeel
  • Tailleur
  • Thermosphere
  • Verry Elleegant
  • Zebrowski
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