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News In Brief
NZ Racing Desk | September 20, 2022
News In Brief

Arc tilt finalised for Verry Elleegant

New Zealand-bred mare Verry Elleegant will join a select group of downunder thoroughbreds to contest the time-honoured Gr.1 Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe (2400m) next month.

The connections of the 11-time Group One winner have elected to pay the late entry fee for the race at Longchamp following positive feedback from trainer Francis Gaffard.

“We had a call with the entire ownership group and Francis Graffard, the trainer,” part-owner Brae Sokolski told RSN.

“We all decided unanimously that we wanted to progress to the big race. We will pay that late entry fee provided that everything runs smoothly from this point forward and she will be taking her place next Sunday.”

Verry Elleegant’s French adventure under Graffard started by finishing last of seven in the Gr.1 Darley Prix Jean Romanet (2000m) at Deauville on August 21.

The seven-year-old daughter of Zed then attempted to lead throughout in the Gr.2 Prix Foy (2400m) at Longchamp on September 12, running a fighting third to multiple French stakes winners Iresine and Bubble Gift.

“She is just so important, not just to us but to the racing public. We just wanted to make sure that she had improved in terms of Francis’ eye after that second-up run,” Sokolski said.

“He was very bullish about how she had come out of the first-up run, which gave us confidence that she would make incremental improvement, which she did.

“We are trusting his eye and he was very buoyant about her on the call and said he had no doubt that she had come on again.

“It was his recommendation to go to the Arc because he thinks she will be competitive. It was always our preference providing that he was happy with her.

“Now that we have made that decision, we can look forward very excitedly to what lies ahead.”

So You Think was the most recent New Zealand-bred runner in the Arc, finishing fourth in 2011.


Smokin’ Romans issued weight penalty for Caulfield Cup

New Zealand-bred gelding Smokin’ Romans has received a 1.5kg weight penalty for the Gr.1 Caulfield Cup (2400m) next month following his win in the Gr.3 Foundation Cup (2000m) on Saturday.

The Ghibellines gelding is now set to carry 51.5kg after winning the ballot exempt race at Caulfield over the weekend which also boosted him to 36th in order of entry for the Gr.1 Melbourne Cup (3200m) in November.

“Smokin’ Romans was impressive in their victory and is a progressive stayer who is hitting peak form at the right time of year,” Racing Victoria Head of Handicapping David Hegan said.

“The penalty of 1.5kg primarily considers their weight in the Cups in relation to those horses he defeated across the weekend and who are entitled to some relief in the future.

“In addition, we also needed to consider the unique nature of this year’s weight structure in both Cups in the absence of a natural topweight and how those horses handicapped off the limit weight have 1kg more than a traditional scale as a result.

“These penalties are greater than that afforded to the winners of these races in recent years, however, they are reflective of a unique weight scale for the 2022 Cups.”

Bred by White Robe Lodge principals Brian and Lorraine Anderton, Smokin Romans’ was offered through the farm’s 2018 New Zealand Bloodstock Book 1 Yearling Sale draft where he was purchased by Darren Weir for $52,500.

He has gone on to win eight of his 22 starts, including the Listed Pakenham Cup (2500m) and Gr.3 Foundation Cup (2000m).

Verry Elleegant Gr.1 Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe Francis Gaffard Zed Iresine Bubble Gift So You Think Smokin’ Romans Ghibellines David Hegan