Verry Elleegant dominates the season and is sure to be horse of the year

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Verry Elleegant, her jockey James McDonald and trainer Chris Waller were the dominant forces in Group 1 this season and the outstanding mare was rewarded with the coveted title of Horse of the Year.

This is the end result of the 75 Group 1 races held in 2020-21, culminating in Tofane’s victory in the Tatt’s Tiara at Eagle Farm last Saturday.

There were 13 multiple Group 1 winners during the season, but the only horse to win more than twice at elite level was Verry Elleegant.

She won five majors with wins in the Winx Stakes, Turnbull Stakes, Caulfield Cup, Chipping Norton Stakes and Ranvet Stakes.

Verry Elleegant’s ability to win over distances of 1,400m to 2,400m and to succeed in handicap and weight-for-age conditions proves that she was clearly the nation’s superior racehorse this season.

McDonald drove Verry Elleegant on three of their big wins as the jockey finished the season with eight majors to claim the nation’s premier Group 1 jockey title for the first time.

After consecutive wins in Group 1 on Tofane in the Stradbroke Handicap and Tiara, Craig Williams finished the season with six majors and an absolute second place in the jockey rankings ahead of Tommy Berry and Willie Pike with five wins each.

Tofane joined Nature Strip, Hungry Heart, Kolding, Arcadia Queen, Explosive Jack, Sir Dragonet, Ole Kirk, Behemoth, Eduardo, Montefilia and Probabeel as a double group 1 winner this season.

But Verry Elleegant’s five majors will ensure that Waller has trained the winner of the Horse of the Year for the sixth consecutive year after Winx peated four peats between 2016-19 and the Nature Strip last year.

Waller also claims the Group 1 coaching title for a ninth record season in a row after preparing 15 big race winners in 2020-21.

In addition to Verry Elleegant, her stable mates Nature Strip, Hungry Heart and Kolding also played their part with two wins each in Group 1, while Waller also won Yulong Prince, Selino and Kukeracha at the highest level.

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ZAAKI and Incentivize are the most exciting front running distance galopers in Might And Power’s two great decades.

Both have emerged from virtual oblivion to dominate the Brisbane Winter Carnival. You have the rare ability to find a position at speed and still have the stamina to accelerate clearly and take some of the most spectacular victories in years over distances of 2,000m and 2,400m.

They remind me of Might And Power, a great stayer who won many of his races by a wide margin. He led the whole time to win the 1997 Caulfield and Melbourne Cups and the 1998 Cox Plate.

His most emphatic win was at the 1998 Queen Elizabeth Stakes in Randwick, beating Group 1 elite horses like Champagne and Catalan Opening by 10 1/2 lengths.

Zaaki and Incentivize didn’t face horses of this quality in their Brisbane wins, but all you can do is beat your opponent that day and both have made their rivals look second-rate for the past few weeks.

Zaaki, trained by Annabel Neasham, picked up easy wins in the Hollindale Stakes, Doomben Cup (by seven lengths) and Q22 and is now a definite favorite for next spring’s Cox Plate.

Incentivize started its campaign with a first win on the Sunshine Coast. He racked up six straight wins, including last Saturday’s Tatt’s Cup at Eagle Farm.

In its last three victories, Incentivize has won by a margin of nine lengths, nine and a half lengths and then 12 lengths in the Tatt’s Cup, its first success in the race.

Despite his inexperience, Incentivize was so impressive that it is the early favorite for the Caulfield and Melbourne Cups later that year.

When was the last time a Brisbane Winter Carnival produced the favorites for the three Melbourne majors the following spring?

#Might And Power (1998) is the last horse to complete the Doomben Cup-Cox Plate doubles that same year, while Vow And Declare won the Tatt’s Cup and Melbourne Cup two years ago.

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GAI Waterhouse admits that due to the changes in veterinary protocols, it will be very difficult for international guests to get to Melbourne for the Cups this spring.

“I don’t think we’re going to bring many overseas horses here in the spring,” said Waterhouse.

“Many of the national players (coaches and owners) were surprised by the changes. It’s going to be so difficult for them to come down. ”

But Waterhouse, who trains in partnership with Adrian Bott, will do their best to bring promising English stayers military missions to these shores for the Melbourne Cup.

Military Mission was recently bought by Blood Stick Agent Johnny McKeever on behalf of the Waterhouse Bott Stables, before finishing a scant fifth place on the King George V Royal Ascot Stake last week.

McKeever also bought Knights Order in England for the Waterhouse Bott stall, with that stalker winning the Group 2 Brisbane Cup earlier this month.

Knights Order stablemate Converge won the Group 1 JJ Atkins Stakes at Eagle Farm that same day, and Waterhouse confirmed she has ambitious plans for the promising up and coming three-year-old English super horse Frankel.

“Converge is still in Queensland and has a bit of a R and R, but he’ll be back in Randwick soon,” said Waterhouse.

“We’re going to put him on for the Golden Rose, if he could win that, then see how it goes with the Caulfield Guineas and Cox Plate. He’s such a talented young horse. ”

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JOCKEY Brendan Sweeney was seriously injured and was in an artificial coma after falling with three horses at Darwin Racecourse in Fannie Bay on Saturday.

The Australian Jockeys Association announced the well-being of the three riders who were most concerned about Sweeney that fall.

Sweeney, 51, was put into a coma after suffering brain bleeding, broken ribs and a punctured lung. The jockey is said to be in stable condition.

The jockeys Jarrod Todd (bruise) and Kim Gladwin (concussion, lung puncture) were injured in the fall.



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