IN Racing
News In Brief
NZ Racing Desk | August 22, 2022

Graffard looking for more distance with Verry Elleegant

The connections of Verry Elleegant are looking forward to getting the mare over more ground after a disappointing first-up run in France overnight.

The 11-time Group One winner was having her first start for trainer Francis Graffard in the green colours of part-owners Jomara Bloodstock in the Gr.1 Prix Jean Romanet (2000m) and uncharacteristically put in a subpar run to tail the field home after racing at the rear throughout in a sedately run contest.

“I think it’s fair to say that we are all a bit deflated. It has been months in the build-up making sure the logistics were right and she had acclimatised, and had the right programme,” part-owner Brae Sokolski told RSN.

“We felt like everything was on song for her to perform well.

“While I do feel like there are excuses, there is no denying the fact that she has run last and she was not the Verry Elleegant we have come to expect.”

While naturally disappointed with the run of the New Zealand-bred seven-year-old, her ownership group are putting a line through that run and are looking to press on to the Gr.1 Prix Vermeille (2400m) at Longchamp on September 11.

“It’s not a fact of throwing the baby out with the bath water, we do feel like there were enough excuses to justify giving her another opportunity to step up in distance,” Sokolski said.

“The Prix Vermeille in three weeks is going to be D-Day and we will be wanting to see a more characteristic performance from her.”


Love Reigns supreme at Saratoga

Love Reigns became her sire U S Navy Flag’s second stakes winner when she was victorious in the US$150,000 Bolton Landing Stakes (1100m) at Saratoga on Sunday.

It was the juvenile filly’s second win from three starts, having finished fourth in the Gr.2 Queen Mary Stakes (1000m) at Royal Ascot in her previous start.

Trainer Wesley Ward is now looking to target the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint at Keeneland on November 4 with his filly.

U S Navy Flag shuttles to The Oaks Stud in Cambridge, where he stands for a fee of $15,000+GST. The well-credentialled son of War Front has had six northern hemisphere first-crop winners to date, including Ocean Vision, who was a Listed winner in France earlier this month.


Melody Belle has first foal

Champion New Zealand mare Melody Belle has given birth to her first foal, a filly by Written Tycoon, on Saturday night.

The daughter of Commands was bought as a yearling by Te Akau principal David Ellis and she went on to win 14 Group One races for Fortuna Syndications before being sold as a broodmare in Australia for A$2.6 million to Yulong Investments.

“We are absolutely thrilled with the first foal of Melody Belle,” said Yulong’s Chief Operating Officer, Sam Fairgray.

“You could not get a better first foal. A super job by the mare.”

Verry Elleegant Francis Graffard Jomara Bloodstock Prix Jean Romanet Brae Sokolski Prix Vermeille Longchamp Love Reigns U S Navy Flag Bolton Landing Stakes Saratoga Queen Mary Stakes Royal Ascot Wesley Ward Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint Keeneland The Oaks Stud War Front Ocean Vision Melody Belle Written Tycoon Commands Te Akau David Ellis Fortuna Syndications Yulong Investments Sam Fairgray