Verry Flash winning the Taumaranui Gold Cup (2200m) at Rotorua. Photo: Trish Dunell
The full-brother to dual Group One winner Verry Elleegant (NZ) pulled up with a minor injury after his fifth-placing in the Listed Matamata Cup (1600m) on Saturday, but trainer Nick Bishara is confident his stable star will make it to the starting line this weekend.
“He lost a shoe and got galloped on at Matamata last week,” he said.
“Unfortunately he has just got a bit of trauma and bruising in a hind fetlock.
“We are 90 percent sure we will get there, but we will not be running him if he is not 100 percent.
“We have got a couple of days up our sleeve and he has been working along quietly on it without being lame on it.
“It’s just a matter of getting the swelling out. I will probably make the call either Friday night or may even leave it as far as Saturday morning.
“We will get a better indication in the next 24 to 48 hours.”
If he makes it to the starting line, Bishara thinks the five-year-old is a major chance of keeping his undefeated record intact at Rotorua.
“He is just working more and more like a stayer and I said to the boys (owners) whatever he does at Matamata, the race at Rotorua is his race,” he said.
“He is unbeaten on the track, he’s going to relish the 1950m. He has pulled up great in himself after the race, just the minor issue with being galloped on is the only stickler.
“Apart from that I am very happy with him.”
Prior to the weekend, Bishara is looking forward to lining up a seven-strong team at Avondale on Friday, where he rates Rising Renown in the West Brook Wines 1400m, and Cherry Lane in the Perfection Print In Avondale 1600, as his two best chances.
“They are both very nice horses and I have got a lot of time for Rising Renown who won a trial at Avondale a couple of weeks ago and was quite impressive in doing so,” he said.
“We are just dictated to by the weather. It’s a Heavy11 (track), but we have got a hell of a wind up here and the track might come back a bit.”
Meanwhile, Bishara is excited about what could be his biggest moment in racing, with Verry Elleegant set to contest the Gr.1 Cox Plate (2040m) at Moonee Valley next Saturday.
Formerly trained in New Zealand by the Ardmore horseman, Bishara has retained a share in the mare and will head across the Tasman for the big day.
“Very Elleegant had an exhibition gallop with James McDonald (jockey) onboard this morning (Wednesday) at Moonee Valley,” he said.
“She went well by all accounts, so it’s onwards and upwards to the Cox Plate next weekend.”
With a select field of 14, there has been fierce competition for a place in the great race, but Bishara is confident the mare will secure her place in the field.
“You would think she would get into the Cox Plate being a dual Group One winner,” he said. “It has been one of the more open Cox Plates in years.
“It will be interesting and it would be nice to see the Shark (Te Akau Shark) there as well, but it’s at the discretion of Moonee Valley, so we just don’t know what they are thinking.”
Verry Elleegant will head into next week’s assignment in good form after her last start heroics in the Gr.2 Hill Stakes (2000m) at Randwick.
“It was a fantastic win in the Hill Stakes, it was brilliant,” Bishara said. “I think the Hill Stakes has been quite a good guide heading into some of the Melbourne features, so we hope that form will hold up out of there again.”
Bishara is hoping they can retain expat New Zealand jockey James McDonald for the Cox Plate, and he is confident they can do so.
“I believe James will be sticking with her. He is not quite confirmed yet, but he went down and galloped her on Wednesday morning.”
While Bishara is all set to to head to Melbourne next week, he could be joined by some of his staff who are riding the wave as much as their employer.
“It’s every owners dream to have a Cox Plate, Caulfield Cup, or Melbourne Cup runner,” he said. “We are really lucky and it’s very exciting.
“I have just had to juggle a few things to make sure I am there next week. There is a big contingent going over, I will be flat finding staff here because half of them want to go.
“They were all a part of her development. They all feel a part of the journey, and rightly so, it’s a big thrill for everybody from a really small stable to have something as exciting as this.”