Christian Reith will reunite with veteran Epsom Handicap hope Veyron when the Kiwi raider looks to atone for a last start loss in Saturday’s 2013 George Main Stakes at Randwick.
Reith partnered with the evergreen Thorn Park eight-year-old two starts ago when they narrowly held off dual Group 1 winning mare Streama to win the Group 2 Warwick Stakes (1400m) at Warwick Farm.
That was the Linda Laing-trained Veyron’s first run down under since April where they backed up from three beautiful Group 1 performances back home only to be outclassed when a close eighth in the Group 1 George Ryder Stakes (1500m).
Winner of the Group 1 Zabeel Classic (2000m) at Ellerslie on Boxing Day by three lengths, Veyron’s other recent form in New Zealand includes a second in the Group 1 Haunui Farm Classic (1600m) and another second this time to star galloper Ocean Park in the Group 1 New Zealand Stakes (2000m).
While on paper their George Ryder Stakes eighth at Rosehill leaves a lot to be desired, there was less than two lengths separating them and the since retired winner Pierro – not a bad finish after they began awkwardly.
After their Warwick Farm success in August, Veyron backed up two weeks later at Randwick in the Group 2 Chelmsford Stakes (1600m).
While seemingly in top form and suited to the distance their regular New Zealand-based jockey Rogan Norvall, who was back aboard rode them after missing the Chelmsford due to problems with their visa, rode them to a disappointing ninth behind the Chris Waller-trained Queensland Derby champ Hawkspur.
It wasn’t a close finish either as Veyron was six lengths off the winner prompting Laing to put Reith back on, although the trainer said the loss was mainly the horse’s fault and not the jockey’s.
“Christian Reith will ride him in the George Main – the owners wanted the change of rider,” Laing said according Racing and Sports.
“The horse beat himself when he missed the kick.”
While Hawkspur likely goes to Melbourne this weekend to tackle a crack field that includes the current Cox Plate (Atlantic Jewel) and Melbourne Cup (Puissance De Lune) favourites in the $500,000 Group 1 Underwood Stakes (1800m), Baker keeps Veyron in Sydney for the $350,000 Group 1 George Main Stakes (1600m).
It will be far from a walk in the park however with plenty of talented milers in the mix including up to six Waller-trained hopes.
Waller’s thrown in a nomination for Hawkspur here too along with stablemates including Chelmsford Stakes runner-up Beaten Up, four time Group 1 winner Shoot Out, Australian Oaks winner Royal Descent and Doncaster champion Sacred Falls.
With wet weather on the radar for Sydney Veyron’s nice slow – heavy track record bodes well and if all goes to plan they could be bound for the $500,000 Group 1 Epsom Handicap (1600m) at Randwick on October 5.
“There’s the option of the Epsom but it is hard to get a horse to peak four times in seven weeks,” Laing admitted.
In the latest Epsom Handicap odds Veyron, who was allocated the 56kg third top weight behind Shoot Out (58kg) and Sincero (57kg) this week, pays $17 which is equal with Waller’s Group 1 winning mare Red Tracer.
Markets are led by fellow George Main nominee Sacred Falls ($9).
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