James McDonald back in business for Cup

·2-min read

A Derby day masterclass has come with a bonus for champion jockey James McDonald after the outstanding racemare Verry Elleegant was confirmed as a Melbourne Cup starter.

Two days after his Cup ride on Away He Goes fell by the wayside because of an injury to the UK stayer, McDonald will be reunited with one of his favourite horses.

Verry Elleegant ran seventh in last year's Melbourne Cup but convinced trainer Chris Waller she is worthy of another shot at Australia's greatest race after a track gallop on Saturday.

"Following a nice piece of work ... we have made the decision to run Verry Elleegant on Tuesday in the Melbourne Cup," the Waller stable said.

Verry Elleegant has won nine times at racing's highest level and McDonald has been in the saddle for seven of those victories.

McDonald showed why he is as gifted as any rider in the world with four winners on Victoria Derby day to open the Melbourne Cup carnival in superb touch.

Three of them were for Waller, including the Group One Coolmore Stud Stakes on Home Affairs as he equalled a Derby day riding record.

And not surprisingly, the jockey is backing Australia's best trainer to the hilt in declaring Verry Elleegant a live chance at Flemington on Tuesday.

"Obviously (the stable) has been to-ing and fro-ing about a start but they must be very happy with her," McDonald said.

"I am sure she will be running well, she always runs well."

Verry Elleegant goes into the Melbourne Cup after a last-start minor placing in the WS Cox Plate, scouting wide as the first two home took inside runs.

Bookmakers rate Verry Elleegant a $15 chance from barrier 19 but she will start shorter if there is any rain on Cup day.

The barrier draw has made little difference to latest Cup betting with Incentivise having a stranglehold on the market as a $2.30 chance.

An emphatic winner of the Caulfield Cup, Incentivise will start from barrier 16 with the UK stayer Spanish Mission drawn two gates to the favourite's inside.

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