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Sweet ride: Verry Elleegant claims 2021 Melbourne Cup


Trainer Chris Waller has sealed a decade of excellence in Australian racing with Verry Elleegant winning the Melbourne Cup.

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Famous for engineering the record-breaking exploits of Winx, Waller claimed his first Melbourne Cup win as Verry Elleegant beat the favourite Incentivise in the nation’s greatest race.

UK-trained stayer Spanish Mission took the minor placing.

Incentivise, one of the shortest-priced favourites in Cup history, looked the winner at the top of the straight but he was no match for Verry Elleegant’s late surge under jockey James McDonald.

Waller now has in his possession one of Australian sport’s most prized trophies to go alongside Winx’s four Cox Plates.

He has rewritten all the record books on his way to the top but a Melbourne Cup triumph ranks as the sweetest moment since confirming his arrival among the best in the business.

Waller has won the past 11 Sydney trainers’ premierships, trained a horse of a lifetime in Winx and is setting standards that only he is likely to match.

It was also a first Cup triumph for McDonald, who said Verry Elleegant gave him the best ride possible.

“When I went for home, I don’t know, I don’t know what I was thinking. I was thinking, where’s that post?” McDonald said.

“She travelled so sweetly in the run for such a big way.

“She is trained by a master. He gets them right. She is a superstar and I’m so proud of her.”

Incentivise ran a mighty race as he carried a weight of expectation that he could build on a winning streak on racing’s biggest stage.

But he had no answer as Verry Elleegant, the reigning Australian horse of year, strolled to a four-length win in one of the more emphatic Cup victories.

Spanish Mission ran his heart out for England, looming ominously before taking the minor placing.

Floating Artist was the best of the Ciaron Maher-David Eustace runners in finishing fourth with the New Zealand-trained The Chosen One finishing fifth.

Verry Elleegant’s stablemate Ocean Billy was last of the 23 runners.

The Melbourne Cup was run in front of 10,000 fully-vaccinated racegoers after Victoria’s coronavirus restrictions were lifted in time for reduced crowds during the spring carnival.

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