Shock split: Verry Elleegant taken off Chris Waller

Chris Waller has pledged to do what he can to help Verry Elleegant make the transition to European racing after it was announced the champion mare will be transferred to a French trainer to continue her racing career.

Verry Elleegant’s ownership group dropped a bombshell on Thursday when they announced the reigning Australian Horse of the Year would be sent to Chantilly-based Francis-Henri Graffard and could potentially aim for the prestigious Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe in Longchamp in October.

Waller, who coached Verry Elleegant to win 11 Group 1 races including the Melbourne Cup, Caulfield Cup, Tancred Stakes and ATC Australian Oaks, said he was not disappointed with the owners’ decision. send the champion abroad.

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The owners of Verry Elleegant after winning the 2021 Melbourne Cup.

“I respect the wishes of the owners and they have always been keen to take Verry Elleegant overseas,” Waller told News Corp.

“It was getting harder and harder for her here in Australia (proper remaining races) and the owners had to make the decision.

“I gave them a plan to get the mare back later in the year, but they all agreed it was better to go early and have a good chance.

“I am not disappointed with the decision, the owners have my full support.

“The decision has been made now and to get the best possible result for Verry Elleegant, I will do everything I can to help with the transition.”

VERY ELEGANT

Chris Waller with Verry Elleegant ahead of his final Australian run in the Queen Elizabeth Stakes. Photo: Toby Zerna

Verry Elleegant’s ownership group, which includes Brae Sokolski and Ozzie Kehir, have released a statement confirming their intention to send the rising seven-year-old mare to France to continue her racing career.

“We know she is a world-class resident who needs 2400m and more to show her true ability, but we expect her to be Cup-weighted (Caulfield and Melbourne) so there are some limited opportunities for her domestically,” the statement read.

“After much deliberation, we realized that if we wanted to campaign her in Europe, we had to do it right and send her to be trained and prepared in the northern hemisphere.

“As such, we wish to inform you that Verry Elleegant will be in the care of the great French trainer Francis-Henri Graffard and trained at the world-class facilities of Chantilly.”

Melbourne Cup Day 2021

Brae Sokolski after winning the Melbourne Cup with Verry Elleegant.

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The statement said Verry Elleegant will complete her spell next week and, subject to flight availability, will be sent to Europe as soon as possible.

“Bringing him to Europe early opens up a number of new possibilities, one of which is racing at the Arc (Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe), but we will keep an open mind about his program until let her deepen her preparation with Francis.”

The owners thanked Waller and his team, including jockey James McDonald, for their role in developing their champion mare into the top racehorse in the country.

Verry Elleegant has won 16 of his 38 races, 11 at Group 1 level for career earnings of over $14.8 million.

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