where the horse is always the hero
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Posted 2022-03-19 07:50:54  
South African Training Legend wins Aussie Group 1

Australia's champion mare Verry Elleegant slumped to a shock defeat in Saturday's $700,000 Group 1 Ranvet Stakes (2000m) at Rosehill, upstaged by last year's Metropolitan Handicap winner Montefilia.

James McDonald settled Verry Elleegant (1.24 favourte) at the rear of the six-horse field with the leader Entente ($26) ambling at the front end of the field, setting up a dash to the winning post.

Jason Collett committed the David Payne-trained Montefilia ($9.50) into the contest approaching the home turn, with Verry Elleegant tracking her market rival into the race and looming ominously.

But supporters of Verry Elleegant unexpectedly had little to cheer in the straight, with Montefilia not only holding her margin but widening the gap over the final 400 metres with a slick 23.1-second split on the Heavy 9 surface, against Verry Elleegant's 23.29-second sectional.

"Last start (in the G1 Chipping Norton Stakes) I rode her too handy, it didn't flow - it was a stop-start (race), she was held up and got going late," Collett said. "She needed a bit of room and I just wanted to make sure I was in that spot.

"Whether I was in front of James (McDonald) or behind, ideally in front because it's very difficult to outsprint Verry Elleegant in the straight, but when that tempo sort of came off mid-race I just had a lovely rhythm and I got into the straight on the bridle with James (McDonald) still behind me.

"I know when she lets down she can let down like that. I think I got to the furlong (200-metre mark) and I thought 'Do I look at the screen yet? Or do I wait until the 100 metres'? And I got there and I looked up."

McDonald believed Verry Elleegant struggled to handle the rain-affected conditions after suffering just her second defeat on Heavy ground.

"She has gone good, she just laboured a bit in the ground," McDonald said. "She got within three-quarters of a length but the other one took off, good win by the winner." image and text

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