where the horse is always the hero
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Posted 2021-02-27 15:34:42  
Chipping Norton to a Verry Smart One

Verry Elleegant reminded racegoers why she's considered the best horse in training in Australia when she won her seventh Group 1 in a memorable $600,000 TAB Chipping Norton Stakes (1600m) at Randwick on Saturday.

Trainer Chris Waller won his ninth Chipping Norton since 2011 as James McDonald rode vigorously to persuade Verry Elleegant ($2.30 favourite) to score by half a neck from Collette ($3.70), with Avilius ($20) a further head away in third.

Just three-quarters of a length covered the first five over the line, with the Waller-trained pair Funstar ($15) and Kolding ($4.40) finishing fourth and fifth respectively.

"She's obviously a very good horse and I think everybody saw her fighting qualities today," Waller said.

"I thought Collette had us cold at the 300-metre mark and then I saw Avilius coming with a well-timed run and she was in the middle of them. Yeah, she dug very deep, it was a good, tough win.

"She's just an unassuming girl that just fights like a tiger and I think it was fitting to be fought out that way because that really is the quality of Verry Elleegant."

McDonald, who won his second Chipping Norton following his victory aboard the Godolphin-owned Contributer in 2015 for John O'Shea, declared that he had a 'soft spot' for the five-year-old daughter of Zed.

'I've been in those scenarios before with her, she seems to come out on top more times than not," McDonald said.

"I knew once she was on, that last 100 metres the tough would get going - I'm very proud of the mare. I just hope, well I know, as the distances get further, she will get better."

Rachel King described the run of Colette as 'massive again' and couldn't fault the effort of this season's $7.5m Golden Eagle (1500m) winner, who resumed earlier this month with success in the G2 Apollo Stakes (1400m) over Verry Elleegant.

Nash Rawiller, rider of Avilius, was equally pleased with the performance of his multiple G1 winner, commenting: "Awesome run. I left them alone early and he was always going to lack that run against the others as they've had a run. Gee he was good."

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