New Zealander Veyron will figure in a role reversal in the Chelmsford Stakes that trainer Linda Laing insists is more in keeping with his status as a genuine star of Australasian racing.
Unloved as one of the outsiders when he edged out Streama in the Warwick Stakes, Veyron heads to Randwick on Saturday as the favourite to make it successive Sydney weight-for-age wins.
“He was underestimated for sure in the Warwick Stakes,” Laing said.
“He’s a five-time Group One winner and I know Australians don’t rate New Zealand form but it’s hard to win a Group One race in any country.”
Veyron’s new-found popularity with Australian bookmakers is not the only switch from a Warwick Stakes where only the fittest horses were seen to advantage because of the frantic tempo set by Rain Affair.
With visa issues resolved, Rogan Norvall, Veyron’s regular jockey in New Zealand, takes over from Christian Reith.
“Christian did a good job on him in the Warwick Stakes but Rogan and Veyron have a special bond,” Laing said.
Norvall has ridden Veyron in three Group One wins, the most recent being the Zabeel Classic at Ellerslie in December.
The Zabeel Classic is a 2000m race and is at the back end of what Laing considers is Veyron’s best distance range.
“He’s had seven starts for six wins over 1400 metres but personally I think he is better from 1600 metres to 2000 metres,” she said.
Warwick Stakes placegetters Streama and Rain Affair are missing from the Chelmsford and Laing expects Chris Waller’s contingent of middle distance and staying horses to stand up for the first time this spring.
Having known each other when making their way in the racing industry in New Zealand, Laing revealed she shared a light-hearted moment at Warwick Farm with the former Kiwi horseman who is dominating the Sydney scene.
“Chris said ‘good on ya mate but don’t start making a habit of it’,” Laing said.
With Veyron at the top of Chelmsford betting at $3.80, bookmakers agree with Laing’s assessment about Waller’s team with stablemates Beaten Up and Bayrir, who are on the second line of betting at $4.40, expected to press the Kiwi for favouritism.