One of the most anticipated clashes of the Australian autumn has lived up to its billing as Verry Elleegant swept aside the northern hemisphere’s best in the Ranvet Stakes.
Promoted as a weight-for-age match-race between Verry Elleegant and the highly rated UK-trained Addeybb, the Ranvet delivered on every level on Golden Slipper day at Rosehill.
And it was the Chris Waller-trained Verry Elleegant who had her revenge on Addeybb after they met for the first time in last year’s race.
Addeybb outstayed Verry Elleegant in 2020 and Waller admitted to a feeling of deja vu as they singled out from their rivals in the home stretch of the 2000m race.
As is Addeybb’s way, the visitor was the first horse to be urged along for English jockey Tom Marquand, while Verry Elleegant cruised up to his girth at the 400m.
But Addeybb also possesses a never-say-die attitude to racing and he lifted to go with Verry Elleegant for as long as he could.
“It was exactly the same as last year from how I saw it,” Waller said.
“I thought we were going to win the race last year at the 600m mark.
“He was under a bit of pressure and we were cruising. Same again today. Last year he fought back.
“So when we gradually got to the front today, all I could see was how Tom was going on Addeybb and whether or not we had anything left.”
To the relief of Waller and jockey James McDonald, Verry Elleegant ($2.80) did have something extra to give, beating Addeybb, the $2.10 favourite, by a length.
Angel Of Truth ($31) finished three-quarters of a length away in third after taking up the running.
The victory was Verry Elleegant’s eighth at Group One level and it is one that almost certainly sealed Australian Horse Of The Year honours.
Verry Elleegant and Addeybb will meet again in the $4 million Queen Elizabeth Stakes over 2000m at Randwick next month.
Addeybb also had Verry Elleegant’s measure in last year’s edition and despite Saturday’s defeat, he remains favourite to make it back-to-back wins in the richest race of the Sydney autumn carnival on April 17.