Verry Elleegant retires after British Champions Day swan song at Ascot

Australia’s champion stayer Verry Elleegant has been retired following her run in the Fillies’ and Mares’ Stakes at Ascot on British Champions Day.

She won 11 Group One races for Chris Waller before being transferred to Francis-Henri Graffard this summer in preparation for an audacious European campaign, which was focused around the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe.

Last year's Melbourne Cup winner did not sparkle in the northern hemisphere, however.

She failed to win on her first two starts and subsequently missed the cut for the Arc. Instead she ran in the Prix de Royallieu on the same weekend at ParisLongchamp, finishing seventh.

She made her final appearance on the track with a ninth-placed finish behind Emily Upjohn on Champions Day.

Her top-class victories came from distances between seven furlongs and two miles, and her crowning glory was last year's Melbourne Cup success, where she recorded a four-length win over Incentivise.

A statement from her owners, Jamara Bloodstock Ltd, said: "Verry Elleegant will rightfully take her place among the pantheon of Australia's champion racehorses, with a record that compares favourably with any stayer of the modern era.

"Throughout her career, she demonstrated remarkable durability and consistency at the highest-level winning Group 1s as a 3yo filly through to a 6yo mare, at 1400m through to 3200.

"She accumulated a staggering 11 Group 1 victories (equal 12th all time in Australia) and almost $15 million in prizemoney (4th all-time in Australia).

"Her lasting legacy won't be measured by her prize-money or Group 1 tally but more so by the joy and happiness she brought her legion of fans. Her indomitable will to win inspired us all.

"There were so many individuals that played a massive role in her success but we would like to particularly thank Chris Waller and his entire team, including track rider Chris Harwood and groom Rocky Mangat, jockey James McDonald and Francis Graffard and his stable.

"Rest assured though, the Verry Elleegant story is far from over and we now look forward to the next chapter in her remarkable story, her life as a mum! The plan is to keep her in the pristine fields of France until she can be served by a leading European stallion in Northern Hemisphere time next year.

"We wish to thank everyone for their love and support over the years."

Graffard, who ran her four times in total whilst in his care, added his own tribute on Twitter, stating: "It was an honour to train Verry Elleegant for a few short months. A beautiful mare with a gentle nature who was as adored by all here in our yard as she was in Australia. Her owners' love for her was always evident, and we thank them for the opportunity to get to know her."

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