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Image: Bruno Cannatelli

Verry Elleegant remains a chance to contest this year’s Arc de Triomphe after Thursday night’s shock announcement that she would be leaving the Chris Waller stable.

Waller released a statement on behalf of the ownership group advising that the reigning Melbourne Cup heroine would be transferred to French trainer Francis-Henri Graffard with a view to contesting European staying features.

“We know she is a world class stayer who needs 2400m-plus to show her true ability, but we expect her be weighted out of the Cups and as such there are limited options for her domestically,” the statement read.

“After much deliberation we came to the realisation that if we want to campaign her in Europe, we need to do it properly and send her to be trained and prepared in the northern hemisphere.

“Bringing her to Europe early opens up a number of new possibilities, one of which is running in the Arc, however we will just keep an open mind on her program until deeper in her preparation with Francis.”

Verry Elleegant won two of her first three starts in New Zealand before being transferred to Darren Weir, with whom she had four starts as a spring three-year-old, headlined by a win in the Group 3 Ethereal Stakes (2000m).

Waller took over training following Weir’s disqualification and has prepared Verry Elleegant to all 11 of her Group 1 wins, which include the Melbourne Cup (3200m), Caulfield Cup (2400m), Tancred Stakes (2400m), Turnbull Stakes (2000m), two Chipping Norton Stakes (1600m), an ATC Oaks (2400m) and Winx Stakes (1400m).

“We would like to take this opportunity to express our enormous gratitude to Chris Waller and his team for the outstanding job they have done with Verry Elleegant,” the owners’ statement said.

“Chris is one of the world’s greatest trainers and must take a huge amount of credit in allowing her to fulfil her potential and bringing her up to her peak, preparation after preparation.”

Waller thanked the ownership group for the opportunity to train Verry Elleegant and wished them well for their European expedition.

“It has been an honour to have trained Verry Elleegant for a major part of her career. She has given us so many great thrills over a number of years and we are very proud of her,” Waller said.

“My team around Australia are all responsible for her success and longevity which I thank them for and wish the owners all the very best in her Northern Hemisphere race campaign.”

 
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