Sokolski puts faith in 'A-Team'

30 October 2021 Written by Ryan Reynolds

If anyone can overcome barrier 19 in a Lexus Melbourne Cup, then it's Chris Waller and James McDonald.

Or as Verry Elleegant's part-owner Brae Sokolski puts it: 'the A-Team'.

The star mare was handed an unfavourable gate at Saturday evening's barrier draw, following the decision earlier that afternoon to run in the race.

Trainer Waller wanted to see Verry Elleegant work on Saturday morning before accepting for the race, while McDonald, who is her regular rider in Sydney, only became available after import Away He Goes suffered an injury last week.

Sokolski, who also owns a share in Cup favourite Incentivise, said Verry Elleegant's draw was far from ideal.

"Probably would have preferred something inside of 14. Something closer to mid-range for her," Sokolski said.

"We'd have liked to have seen her closer to the speed. From that alley we will be a bit more negative. It is what it is.

"We've got the A-Team. It's Chris Waller and James McDonald. Couldn't be in better hands.

"The horse is in fantastic order. She galloped fantastic this morning and she deserves her chance to win a Melbourne Cup."

He was, however, pleased with Incentivise's barrier 16.

"With both of them I'd rather have drawn outside than inside. Incentivise, we want to take luck out of the equation," Sokolski said.

"Same as the Caulfield Cup, he won from the outside draw. From there he is able to dictate.

"I'm pretty happy with 16 for him."