Australia: Addeybb, Verry Elleegant Rivalry Heats Up On Day Two Of The Championships At Randwick

Day Two of “The Championships” at Randwick promises to deliver some unforgettable racing theater, as one of the sport’s greatest international rivalries reaches its climax in the $4 million Queen Elizabeth Stakes (G1). Sky Racing World’s racing expert Jason Witham will be trackside at Randwick for live crosses to the TVG broadcast (First Post: 9:30pm ET / 6:30pm PT).  

English stayer Addeybb first visited Australia in March of 2020, engaging top Australian mare Verry Elleegant in an exhilarating edition of the Ranvet Stakes. Addeybb fought back to win after being headed, then more easily had Verry Elleegant’s measure in the Queen Elizabeth. Combat was renewed in this year’s Ranvet (watch replay), when a similar stirring, stretch-long duel ensued. Verry Elleegant turned the tables and now looks to even the score in Friday night’s eagerly anticipated Queen Elizabeth Stakes at 1 1/4 miles.  

Horse racing is replete with storied rivalries – many American fans would vote for Affirmed-Alydar as the greatest – but how many involve older horses of both sexes with an international element? My mind went to repeat European Breeders’ Cup champions Miesque and Goldikova as possible protagonists, but neither mare had a regular American adversary.

In discussing the matter with decorated author and history buff, Jay Privman, a similarity came to light: Privman suggested Estrapade and Theatrical. Both began their careers in Europe, but Estrapade was firmly ensconced in Charlie Whittingham’s barn when she encountered the Dermot Weld-trained Theatrical in the 1986 Arlington Million. The pair raced as an entry, due to Allen Paulson’s common ownership, but Theatrical saw little of Estrapade as the mare streaked to a brilliant win. They became better acquainted as Estrapade topped an exacta finish in the Oak Tree Invitational, by which time Theatrical had been transferred to Bobby Frankel. Theatrical then led a 2-3 finish (behind Manila) in the Breeders’ Cup Turf, before leveling the head-to-head score as the pair ran 3rd and 6th in the Hollywood Turf Cup. That proved to be Estrapade’s final race, and she was subsequently crowned America’s Champion Female Turf Horse of 1986. An equivalent honor awaited Theatrical, who would become America’s Champion Male Turf Horse of 1987 (following yet another trainer change – this time to a young Bill Mott).  

Having to sift through 35 years of history to uncover an analogous rivalry makes it easy to realize the uniqueness of what Addeybb and Verry Elleegant are currently providing global racing fans. Seven-year-old Addeybb didn’t reach the peak of his powers until last season, which he capped by winning the G1 Champion Stakes at Ascot to earn a tie for 3rd in the Global Thoroughbred Rankings. Verry Elleegant has reeled off five Group One wins as a 5-year-old and is the presumptive Australian Horse of the Year for the 2020/21 season. Appropriately, the pair share Queen Elizabeth favoritism (at 8-5) and will occupy adjoining stalls in Randwick’s starting gate.

The example of Estrapade and Theatrical amounted to one exacta finish. Verry Elleegant and Addeybb are already 3-for-3 in that category, which surely makes this rivalry unrivaled.   

Addeyb’s trainer, William Haggas, hopes to be shooting for a Group One double in the Queen Elizabeth Stakes, after Favorite Moon contests the preceding race, the $2 million Sydney Cup. The lightly raced 4-year-old won his Australian debut three weeks ago at 1 1/2 miles, and will be tested at two miles in just his 10th career start. Like Addeybb, Favorite Moon shares favoritism with a mare he raced last start. Realm of Flowers put forth an outstanding effort to get within a neck of Favorite Moon off a wide trip, and is proven at the Sydney Cup’s marathon distance. The pair are co-favorites at 5-1, an example of the tremendous wagering value to be enjoyed in Australian racing.

Another Group One stamina test is carded on Friday night, as 3-year-old fillies contest the $1 million Australian Oaks at 1 1/2 miles. Harmony Rose (5-2) tries to reverse a narrow loss to Hungry Heart (4-1) in a G1 race two weeks ago. Montefilia (3-1) is on an even quicker turnaround, after finishing 4th as favorite in last week’s Australian Derby. Amarelinha (5-1) is a scary new face, bringing a 7:5-2-0 record from New Zealand, where she most recently won the NZ Oaks. Regardless of who appears in the winner’s circle following Friday night’s Australian Oaks, connections will be hoping their filly can emulate the career of 2019 Oaks winner, Verry Elleegant. Owners of the runner-up can also take heart, as the 2015 Australian Oaks was the final defeat experienced by Winx. Incredibly, the last of Winx’s world-famous streak of 33 victories occurred on the corresponding day four years later, when she won her third consecutive Queen Elizabeth Stakes on the same card as Verry Elleegant’s Australian Oaks. “The Championships,” indeed.

The Randwick card will be broadcast live on TVG this Friday night (First Post: 9:30pm ET / 6:30pm PT) alongside cards from Eagle Farm, Kembla Grange and Gold Coast. All races will be live-streamed in HD on the new Sky Racing World Appskyracingworld.com and major ADW platforms such as TVG, TwinSpiresXpressbet, NYRABets, WatchandWagerHPIbet, and AmWager. Wagering is also available via these ADW platforms. Fans can get free access to live-streaming, past performances and expert picks on all races at skyracingworld.com. 

A native of Brisbane, Australia, Michael Wrona has called races in six countries. Michael’s vast U.S. experience includes; race calling at Los Alamitos, Hollywood Park, Arlington and Santa Anita, calling the 2000 Preakness on a national radio network and the 2016 Breeders’ Cup on the International simulcast network. Michael also performed a race call voiceover for a Seinfeld episode called The Subway.

The post Australia: Addeybb, Verry Elleegant Rivalry Heats Up On Day Two Of The Championships At Randwick appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

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