Now, there is no shortage of articles written about the racing success of Verry Elleegant – with nine Group 1 races to her name, she’s a bit of a media darling (update: she’s since claimed an additional 2 bringing her grand total to 11!).
However, we wanted to get an insight into her personality, her early years in New Zealand, and exactly what drew Tim to her all those years ago.
Keep reading to find out a bit more about this special mare…
Don Goodwin, her breeder, named her. It was a combination of a granddaughter’s name, an Elleegant car he owned and the Verry came courtesy of Verry Flash – her brother racing in New Zealand.
I played rugby with fellow owner, John Carter of Jomara Bloodstock, and am a friend of his family. We always talked about owning a horse together and Ellee just happened to be that horse.
No we didn’t all know each other. However, some wonderful friendships have been formed in New Zealand and Aussie through this association.
John & Mark Carter, Kevin Stocker, Brae Skoloski and myself are very close and constantly in communication. We are also partners in other horses now.
The ANZAC spirit is alive and well!
I was taken with her when she delivered an amazing turn of foot to win at Ruakaka and then in Matamata.
Following that I went to see her at Nick Bishara’s stable and although she was athletic looking with height and scope – a staying type obviously – she was rather skinny front on.
That being said – there was something about her so I bought in.
My racing confidants Russell Warwick (Westbury Stud) and Paul Willetts (Bloodstock Agent) were also supportive of my purchase.
Never – she didn’t always perform to our expectation and she was a handful, but she was her own worst enemy and we knew when she finally put it all together she would achieve so much.
Yes – when Ellee flew home for third in the G2 Manifold at Flemington in 2018 and then followed that up with a win in the Ethereal Stakes.
I love to be around my horses at the racing stables but distance and now COVID-19 isn’t allowing too much of that.
I will say that Ellee definitely has a presence about her when you are up close and personal.
It was an easy decision to send her to Australia and race her against their best. Her nine Australian G1s to date and her Australian Horse of the Year title have proven her to be up there with those of champion status.
In my opinion, you just cannot compare racing a horse in New Zealand to Australia (Auckland Thoroughbred Racing aside, as they are ahead of New Zealand racing at every level) – it’s really something.
She was a very immature from day one – she really only strengthened up and put on weight from last year.
Prior to that she was doing it all with simply a will to win and huge heart.
The Cox Plate is right up there – and we were proud of her effort on Saturday to place. A bit of luck in the running and we may just have got there.
But having run the sweepstake from an early age at school for the Melbourne Cup and watching every race throughout my childhood, the Melbourne Cup is very close to my heart.
To have a runner in it is a dream come true in itself.
I celebrated Ellee’s Australian Oaks G1 victory with my wife, Annie, at Randwick – it was the day Winx won her last G1 the Queen Elizabeth Stakes and said her goodbyes to the crowd. Personally it was an unforgettable experience that we will cherish forever.
The other stand out was her biggest win to date in last year’s Caulfield Cup when she fought like a tiger to beat Epsom Derby winner, Anthony Van Dyck.
Sadly we were locked out of Victoria so couldn’t be trackside but made up for it at home with more than a few champagnes.
On tour we certainly do – we start each day with an early Champagne breakfast. It is fair to say some of the owners need some serious looking after by evening.
Wearing a tie with her red & blue colours has become mandatory too.
It’s hard to go past the two Australian stallion sensations, Snitzel or Fastnet Rock.
I would buy her progeny in a heartbeat – being able to afford them might be a different story!
Not sure but he or she would definitely have a name that included rather strange spelling.
I can’t – she is one of a kind – no one comes close in my opinion.
I am just very fortunate to have been part of her amazing story.
6YO brown mare
By Zed out of Opulence (ex Danroad)
Bred by JD Goodwin
Owned by Jomara Bloodstock Ltd (Mgr: M Carter), Ellee (Mgr: J Goodwin), Balmerino Racing Partnership (Mgr: J Rosham), M Wanzare, T Barry, B Sokolski, A Kheir, K Stocker, Honeycomb Stud (Mgr: A Whittingham), J O’Neill & V Kheir
Trained by Chris Waller
Our thanks to Tim for taking the time to answer our questions. We wish Verry Elleegant and her connections all the best for the Lexus Melbourne Cup – we’ll be cheering her on!
Unless otherwise noted, photos supplied by Tim Barry