The 2021 Melbourne Cup winner Verry Elleegant has figured in a shock stable change to accommodate the overseas ambitions of the champion racemare’s high-profile ownership group.
One of the most decorated racehorses in Australian racing, Verry Elleegant will be moved from Chris Waller’s all-conquering stable to the Chantilly yard of leading French trainer Francis-Henri Graffard.
Travel plans for the winner of almost $15 million will be finalised once she finishes spelling after an autumn campaign that ended on a flat note when she was unplaced in the Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Randwick in April.
It is expected Verry Elleegant will be aimed at the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, one of the world’s signature thoroughbred races.
Verry Elleegant is raced in a partnership that includes well-known Australian owners Brae Sokolski and Ozzie Kheir.
In a statement released through Waller, the ownership group said that for Verry Elleegant to race against the best stayers in the world it would necessitate the mare being trained abroad.
“After much deliberation we came to the realisation that if we want to campaign her in Europe, we need to do it properly and send her to be trained and prepared in the northern hemisphere,” their statement read.
“Bringing her to Europe early opens up a number of new possibilities, one of which is running in the Arc.
“However we will just keep an open mind on her program until deeper in her preparation with Francis.”
“We are incredibly excited about the journey ahead and showcasing her on the world stage. We know win, lose or draw she will do us, Australia and of course New Zealand proud.”
Waller trained Verry Elleegant to win 11 Group One races, including the 2020 Caulfield Cup and last year’s Melbourne Cup.
But her owners believe Verry Elleegant would be handicapped out of this year’s spring Cups double, limiting her domestic opportunities in races at 2400m and beyond.
Waller, who trained horse-of-a-lifetime Winx, said he was privileged to have had an association with Verry Elleegant.
“It has been an honour to have trained Verry Elleegant for a major part of her career,” he said.
“She has given us so many great thrills over a number of years and we are very proud of her.”