Chris Waller will begin the roll out of his carnival big guns this weekend with Caulfield Cup winner Verry Elleegant leading the charge in Sydney.
The earner of over $7 million in stakes, Verry Elleegant will launch her campaign in the Group Two Apollo Stakes (1400m), alongside stablemates Funstar, Kolding and Toffee Tongue.
The premier trainer will also have a major hand in Melbourne where Nature Strip and September Run take on Godolphin sprinter Bivouac in the Black Caviar Lightning.
Verry Elleegant already has six Group One wins in the bag but incredibly, Waller believes she has only just begun to fully mature.
He says that may not translate to improved performances, but he does expect it to make training her more straightforward.
“She has come back stronger but so has Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer. Does it makes them better? Probably not, but I think it makes the coach’s job easier knowing that you’re not having to nurse a horse through a Group One preparation,” Waller said.
“That’s a big deal because there is no room for error. She has been very good, she has overcome immaturity, that’s how good she is.”
Verry Elleegant finished fourth to Alizee in the Apollo Stakes 12 months ago and followed up with consecutive seconds in the Chipping Norton and Ranvet Stakes before winning the Group One Tancred.
She rounded out her autumn with a fine second to European raider Addeybb in the Queen Elizabeth Stakes.
The five-year-old is expected to follow a similar path this autumn and has since proven she is a threat fresh, scoring a phenomenal Winx Stakes win first up in the spring.
Waller expects Verry Elleegant to be hard to beat on Saturday, provided the track has some cushion.
“Conditions could have some bearing because if it was a lightning-quick track she might not be as effective, but if it’s soft she is going to keep them all very honest,” he said.
The Australian Turf Club has extended nominations for the Apollo after receiving nine entries on Monday, among them Golden Eagle winner Colette and All-Star Mile hopeful Mugatoo.
The Light Fingers Stakes (1200m) has attracted 17 fillies, including the Waller-trained pair of Hungry Heart and Joviality and New Zealander raider Kahma Lass.