No excuses for Verry Elleegant in the Melbourne Cup

Chris Waller was looking for excuses not to run Verry Elleegant in a second Melbourne Cup and apart from the weight, could not find one.

Verry Elleegant is one of four horses from the Waller stable in Tuesday’s Melbourne Cup at Flemington, joined by Selino, Ocean Billy and Saturday’s Hotham Stakes winner Great House.

Waller said apart from the 57kg Verry Elleegant has been allotted, he is looking forward to the mare contesting Tuesday’s race having finished seventh to Twilight Payment in last year’s Cup.

“Her run in the Cox Plate was excellent and she was very unlucky in the race last year,” Waller said.

“Outside of the weight, I just needed one negative to pull the pin and the owners were very supportive of that.

“There was no pressure from them at all. I said to them before the Cox Plate, everything needs to be 100% otherwise we don’t go.

“We waited up until Saturday to get her bloods, trotted her up again at 3.30 (before final acceptance), everything was perfect, so that’s why she’s there.

“Anything else and she would have been out.”

Barrier 19 in the 24-horse field makes for a tricky assignment, but Waller has entrusted James Mcdonald for the ride who has a great association with the mare, which he said makes his job a bit easier.

But Waller concedes the favourite Incentivise will be hard to beat.

Incentivise has drifted from $2.30 to $2.50 with TAB since Saturday’s final field was announced while Verry Elleegant has firmed from $15 to $12.

“Incentivise is just a superstar, but it is a horse race, and anything can happen,” Waller said.

“It is a great horse race.

“She gets her chance, and he needs a chink in his armour, and maybe it’s the distance, most likely not, but she’ll keep him honest.”

Ocean Billy ($71) will stay the 3200m trip says Waller who believes the New Zealand-bred stayer is still a preparation away from reaching his best.

I’m hoping he’s a bit more mature than what he looks to me and if he doesn’t run three top this year, he’ll get another chance,” Waller said.

Selino has been the best backed outsider since Saturday draw, firming from $151 to $71.

“He brings Sydney Cup form, and he was dominant over that distance on that day,” Waller said.

“His preparation has gone better going into the Melbourne Cup than into the Sydney Cup. He’ll stay the trip, he’s got a light weight and just needs a bit of luck from the barrier.”

Waller’s fourth runner is Great House who earned his spot by winning the Hotham Stakes (2500m) on Saturday and is a $23 chance with TAB in betting.

“We have seen the Hotham winner run respectfully in the Melbourne Cup previously. He’s drawn best of my four and will get a nice soft run with the lightweight,” Waller said.

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