Chris Waller is shooting for his fifth successive Turnbull Stakes at Flemington with Verry Elleegant but the champion trainer has great respect for Incentivise.
Nine-time Group 1 winner Verry Elleegant and Incentivise meet for the first time in Saturday’s 2000m feature with Waller saying Incentivise, who is chasing his eighth straight win, is very good.
“He’s got that X-factor,” Waller told RSN.
“Horses like Zaaki and even Winx, they sort of came from nowhere and end up going all the way.
“Is he the next one. We’ll know a lot more on Saturday. It’s a good test for him.”
Verry Elleegant won last year’s Turnbull Stakes before going onto claim honours in the Group 1 Caulfield Cup (2400m) under Mark Zahra.
This year it is Damian Lane’s turn to pilot the mare with her main target being the Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m) at The Valley on October 23.
Verry Elleegant can be a tricky ride and it is important for Lane to get an understanding of the mare before the Cox Plate, but Waller won’t be tying Lane down with too many instructions.
“She’s pretty versatile in terms of where she can settle,” Waller said.
“I think the key is keeping her happy. I’ll tell Damian that ‘you’re in control and to go with the flow and work out where you need to be’.
“Flemington’s not too bad a track. There’s plenty of room and horses can do a few little things wrong like they can from time to time and still get away with it.
“Hopefully she can find a nice spot and get into a nice rhythm.”
Verry Elleegant is the $2.30 favourite with TAB on Saturday while Incentivise is second pick at $2.80.
Colette is on the third line at $8, however the James Cummings stable has informed Racing Victoria Stewards of a developing foot abscess in the off-fore foot with the mare to undergo a veterinary inspection on Friday.