Expat New Zealand jockey James McDonald is heading into the Gr.1 Australian Oaks (2400m) full of confidence after riding race favourite Verry Elleegant in work on Tuesday.
The pair are fresh off a victory in the Gr.1 Vinery Stud Stakes (2000m) last start and McDonald sees no reason why they can’t repeat at Randwick on Saturday.
“She’s going super,” he said. “I worked her on Tuesday morning and had a smile from ear to ear.
“It was very good work and she seems to be thriving on her work and the penny is starting to drop.”
The New Zealand-bred daughter of Zed has been green in her early races, but McDonald believes she is starting to mature and doesn’t see the 2400m as an obstacle with his filly.
“She has really matured and I feel she is just getting better and better,” he said. “I’m looking forward to seeing her over the 2400m, because every time I have ridden her she’s been hard to pull up.
“I have been learning something about her every time and I don’t think I will stop learning because she’s pretty quirky.
“She is bred to run two miles and she is bred to get better when she is a five and six-year-old, so there is a lot of fun to be had with her and I think it’s going to be a great test for her to see if she has got good stamina on Saturday.”
The Chris Waller-trained filly has formed a formidable partnership with McDonald, having won two of their three starts in partnership, including the Gr.2 Phar Lap Stakes (1500m), and finished runner-up in their only other start together, the Gr.3 Vanity (1400m) at Flemington.
Verry Ellegant is a dominant $1.80 with TAB bookmakers, with fellow Kiwi runners Imelda Mary and Clementina sitting at $35 and $26 respectively.