Frankie Dettori admits he’s curious to see how Verry Elleegant fares as she dips her toe into European racing for the first time in Deauville on Sunday.
A superstar in Australia, the seven-year-old has 11 Group 1 wins, including the 2020 Caulfield Cup and last year’s Melbourne Cup, when she easily represented favorite Incentivize by four lengths over two miles after already made all his gain. at 12 stages.
Transferred from Chris Waller’s yard to Francis-Henri Graffard’s French team for a scheduled challenge in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, Verry Elleegant will make her Darley Prix Jean Romanet debut over 1,400 meters with Dettori teaming up with her for the first time.
He told Racing.com: “I’m looking forward to it. It will be a new experience for her on the other side of the world. She’s had a little break so we expect her to come. for the race. , I am very excited.
“As you know, I’ve never won the Melbourne Cup, so riding with the Melbourne Cup winner is a good thing.
“It’s not a huge field like the Melbourne Cup, there are only nine riders. I managed to speak to (former riders) Mark Zahra and I will speak to James (McDonald), but the most important is just to keep her calm the first part of the race and make the finish.
“It’s his comeback race and obviously his long (range) goal is the Arc, so that’s the first step towards getting there.”
Dettori is eager to see how Verry Elleegant performs before turning his attention to future goals.
He added: “At the moment (I haven’t booked an Arc ride) but let’s take it one step at a time. First of all I can’t wait to ride her on Sunday, let’s see how she goes and we’ll make plans after that.”
While many Australian sprinters have made successful forays into Europe, only a handful of horses have tried to do the same on longer journeys, with So You Think and Starcraft two having managed to stand out in the past.
When asked how the Australian middle-distance form would rank in Europe, Dettori replied: “That’s the million dollar question.
“When you look back at the Caulfield Cup, she beat Derby winner Anthony Van Dyke, so if you can match that form it’s pretty decent. She only faces fillies on Sunday, which makes life a little easier but we’ll see.”
Verry Elleegant is one of nine declared for Romanet, with Graffard also fielding Ebaiyra, who finished third behind German star Sammarco last time out.
Richard Hannon sends Aristia while Michael Stoute fields Ville De Grace and Paddy Twomey manages the prolific winner Rosscarbery.