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Verry Elleegant can break a jinx on older mares that stretches nearly three decades in the Group 1 $5 million Stella Artois Caulfield Cup (2400m) at Caulfield on Saturday.
Form guru Gary Crispe from Racing And Sports noted that no mare aged five or older has won the big race since Mannerism in 1992.
Since then, 32 older mares have tried and failed but Crispe said it was "hardly doom and gloom" for Verry Elleegant.
"She has a far more important statistic in her corner — she is faster than all 32," Crispe said. "That may be unfair to Secret Admirer, the one on that list of 32 that had a Timeform rating to match the 123 peak figure of Verry Elleegant, but it is safe to say that the older mares would have a far better recent record in the race if they were all as good as Verry Elleegant.
"The 32 older mares that have contested the Caulfield Cup since Mannerism won have an average Timeform rating of 114 — nine all-important pounds shy of where Verry Elleegant currently sits at 123.
"It is also key that Verry Elleegant's peak came over the Caulfield Cup trip when she routed the field in the Tancred Stakes over 2400m in the autumn. Since then she has added two more Group 1s to her haul, the Winx Stakes over 1400m and the Turnbull Stakes over 2000m, showing great versatility.''
Crispe said the form pattern for the Chris Waller-trained Verry Elleegant made for interesting reading.
"Each of her two previous 2400m victories have been achieved at her fourth run back from a spell, the same state for her Caulfield Cup run,'' he said.
"In fact, her two autumn campaigns have perfectly mirrored her spring campaign to date; 1400m first-up, then 1600m followed by 2000m before tackling 2400m. And it is significant that she produced a peak Timeform rating in that state last preparation.
"There has always been the view that Verry Elleegant's spring ratings profile is not to the same level as her autumn profile, or she needs a rainaffected track to produce peak ratings. However, her record does not support either concern, as her hard-fought Turnbull Stakes win demonstrates.''
Crispe said the international raiders posed the biggest challenges for Verry Elleegant and he singled out English Derby winner Anthony Van Dyck, trained by Aidan O'Brien, as hardest to beat.
"There's a bit to like about Anthony Van Dyck,'' Crispe said. "He tops the weights but with good reason. He has thrown up the odd shocker in his eight runs since the Derby but he has run some cracking races in that time, too.''
Article taken from Daily Telegraph, published Friday 16th October 2020, Author, Ray Thomas, Page 69.