Melbourne Cup winner passes away while foaling

Scott Mcglynn
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Melbourne Cup winner passes away while foaling

Not only did connections lose Verry Elleegant, but they were also unable to save her first foal by Sea The Stars. 

News Insights

  • Winner of the 2020 Caulfield Cup
  • Also won the 2021 Melbourne Cup
  • Failed to have success on the track in Europe
  • Went to Sea The Stars for the first cover

A Sea The Stars X Verry Elleegant foal would have been worth a fortune to the owners whether keeping or selling. Sadly, we will never see a foal out of the champion on the track as she passed away while giving birth to her only offspring, who sadly also failed to make it. 

The natural world can be cruel at times. That was highlighted this week when the super mare Verry Elleegant failed to make it through the foaling process with her first offspring. We take a look back at some of her top moments on the track. 

Verry Elleegant’s early years 

Very little was expected of her when she made her New Zealand racecourse debut, sending off a $28 roughie in July 2018, but she outran those odds to finish third. She would then win her next two starts before starting out in Australia in Group 2 company in the Manifold, where she was third.  
A move to the stable of Chris Waller sent her form to the next level, winning her first Group 1 race in March 2019, the Vinery Stud at Rosehill. It was a Heavy 9 track that day, conditions that she enjoyed, winning three of four on heavy and 12 of 20 when the ground was soft or worse. 

2020 Caulfield Cup 

She was already a five-time Group 1 winner when she lined up for the 2020 Caulfield Cup, but that October success marked her out as a star that transcended the sport. That worldwide recognition came when she beat the globetrotting Anthony Van Dyke into second. 
He had won the Derby in England the year before, running in America and Hong Kong as well as across Europe in Ireland, England and France. Considered a huge hope for the Melbourne Cup (tragedy struck him there), his runner-up effort to Verry Elleegant gave her the reputation she deserved outside of Australia. Later in her career, it opened up another avenue to see her race in Europe. 

2021 Melbourne Cup 

There is little doubt that this win at Flemington was the highlight of her career. Not only did she win the Melbourne Cup after being a touch unlucky the year before, she ripped the field to pieces, saluting by four lengths. 
It was a remarkable display in a race that was run to give those who were more forward than her the best possible chances. Four of the first six horses past the post had been in the front six in the field from early in the race. Verry Elleegant had sat closer to midfield, but a smart move by James McDonald to get her closer to the speed at the perfect time allowed her to kick and stretch past them. 

European racing didn’t go to plan 

She moved to the French yard of Francis-Henri Graffard to take on the best of Europe, but sadly, she did not show the same level of form in her four races in the Northern Hemisphere as she had in Australia. 
Third in the Group 2 Prix, Foy was as good as she produced - her three runs at Group 1 level had her finish no closer than seventh. While it was not a success for her on the track, the plans hatched off it suggested that she had a massive future in Ireland ahead of her. 

Verry Elleegant won 16 of her 38 races, including an exceptional 11 Group 1 contests for a touch under $15,000,000 in prize money. She was an absolute monster on her day and the horse racing world is a poorer place that we will never see her progeny on the track. Our thoughts are with all of her connections.