Verry Elleegant Slotted for International Campaign
The daughter of Zed could be on the market in 2022.
By Tim Rowe/ANZ Bloodstock News
December 1, 2021
Verry Elleegant wins the Melbourne Cup at Flemington Racecourse
A planned European racing campaign next year for reigning Lexus Melbourne Cup (G1) champion Verry Elleegant, possibly culminating in a tilt at the Qatar Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe (G1) in October, could open up the door for the brilliant New Zealand-bred mare to be sold at auction in the Northern Hemisphere.
Jomara Bloodstock's John Carter, a key figure in the ownership group behind the Chris Waller-trained Verry Elleegant, Dec. 1 reaffirmed his ambition, also held by many of his fellow partners, for the 6-year-old to race internationally next year but he admitted the scenario of the trip coinciding with her being sold as a broodmare prospect had not yet been discussed.
As the 10-time group 1 winner currently enjoys a spell, tentative plans are being mapped out by Waller for Verry Elleegant to race in Europe during the Northern Hemisphere summer and autumn where she could be joined on the plane by top-class stablemates Nature Strip and Home Affairs.
Verry Elleegant's campaign, which another owner Brae Sokolski had publicly divulged as being his desire to occur this year, hinges on the 15-time winner indicating she has lost none of her zest for racing and trademark tenacity when she returns to Waller's Rosehill stables in the near future.
"If she comes through the (Sydney) autumn in one piece—it's no small task; they've got to have everything go right—and everybody's happy, then, I guess, why not? You don't get a horse like this every day of the week (capable of traveling to the Northern Hemisphere)," Carter told ANZ Bloodstock News.
When asked about the possibility Verry Elleegant being offered to the international market in either Europe or the United States, Carter said: "We haven't thought that far ahead, to be honest, and basically everything's been focused on racing at the moment.
"It is all governed by how she performs in the autumn before anything like that (is discussed). One thing at a time."
Carter, however, did reveal that he and his brother Mark and sister Rachel, who race under the Jomara Bloodstock banner, along with Verry Elleegant's breeder and part-owner Don Goodwin and original trainer Nick Bishara had reached an agreement quite some time ago to put the mare on the open market once the moment comes to retire her.
At the time, there was the thought that some of the syndicate could buy out their partners to retain her to breed, but her value may mean that proposal is now out of the question.
"There was an agreement made with (breeder) Don Goodwin and ourselves that when the time came for her to finish her racing career, we'd take her to the sales and allow the market to set the price and we could buy her back or whatever (if we wanted to)," he said.
"That was the agreement that we made."
Australian-bred mare Houtzen, a dual group 3 winner who also won the 2017 Jeep Magic Millions 2YO Classic, was sold for Aquis Farm by Woods Edge Farm at the 2020
Keeneland November Breeding Sale for $1.5 million (approximately AU$2,096,758) and the U.S.-bred Con Te Partiro , who won the 2020
Coolmore Classic Tad Kennedy Stakes (G1) and Coolmore Legacy Stakes (G1) during a 10-start Australian campaign, also returned to America after her successful Sydney autumn.
Con Te Partiro, who was raced by Newgate Farm and SF Bloodstock in Australia, was sold for $1.6 million (AU$2,236,542) at the same Keeneland sale as Houtzen.
Japanese breeders have been targeting some of the world's best broodmare prospects and were active in the U.S. market last month, purchasing mares at the Fasig-Tipton and Keeneland November sales in Kentucky, and they are also at the Tattersalls December Mares Sale currently underway at Newmarket in the UK.
Carter acknowledges Verry Elleegant, by Zabeel's unheralded sire-son Zed, could be on the radar of Japanese breeders given the mare's superior staying qualities.
"I would imagine that she would be very attractive to that Japanese market because they are very strong on that staying breed," he said.
"I don't know how much appeal she has to Australia or to New Zealand, for that matter, but I would say the Japanese would be all over her. I am only guessing that as they put a hell of a lot of effort into their staying races."
While Verry Elleegant would be 7 by the time her proposed world tour comes to an end, Carter has not ruled out the mare racing on next season and heading to stud as an 8-year-old.
"The horse has given us so much, so we wouldn't want to flog her. If she's still enjoying it, and she's obviously got a desire to race and a desire to win, and while she has still got it, why not make the most of it?" he said.
"She was quite immature, so to do what she did as a 3- and 4-year-old was quite amazing. We were always aware that she was going to get better the more she matured and developed and we finally saw what the finished article looks like in Melbourne (in the Cup)."
When Verry Elleegant is eventually sold and heads to stud it continues a recent trend of elite mares going to market rather than being retained to breed with by their owners, unlike the choice of connections behind champions Winx and Black Caviar who have kept hold of the mares in their second career.
In the past 18 months, leading Western Australian breeder Bob Peters sold his star mare Arcadia Queen for AU$3.2 million (US$2,480,830) and New Zealand's champion mares Melody Belle and Avantage, both of whom were owned by large syndicates, were also sold publicly for AU$2.6 million (US$2,015,674) and NZ$4.1 million (US$2,877,460), respectively.
A planned European racing campaign next year for Melbourne Cup (G1) champion Verry Elleegant, possibly culminating in a tilt at the Arc (G1), could open up the door for the New Zealand-bred mare to be sold at auction in the Northern Hemisphere.