Roll out the carpet for stars

Cambridge Group One winners Veyron and Rollout The Carpet signalled their readiness for major missions when doing exhibition gallops between races at Te Rapa yesterday.

Veyron, who is booked to be flown to Sydney tomorrow night, was ridden as usual by Rogan Norvall and, though not officially timed, he hit out solidly over 1000 metres, going to the line strongly.

Rollout The Carpet worked some distance behind Veyron and pleased rider Mark du Plessis when covering the 1000 metres quietly in 1:8.85, the 800 in 54.87 and the final 600 in 40.31.

“She felt great,” said du Plessis. “I’m booked to ride her first-up in the Makfi (Challenge Stakes) and she should be a good ride.”

The Gr.1 Makfi Challenge Stakes on August 31 will be Rollout The Carpet’s first start since last March and only her second raceday appearance since winning the Gr.1 NZ Bloodstock 1000 Guineas at Riccarton in November, 2012.

She underwent an operation for the removal of a bone chip in a knee after the Group One win and was given a lengthy recovery period, then turned out again after trialling last April.

“There’s no sign of the problem and she’s coming up well,” said co-trainer Emma-Lee Browne. “She seems a lot stronger now and the plan at this stage is to go for the Makfi then the Windsor Park Stud Plate (also at Hastings).”

Providing Rollout The Carpet acquits herself well at Hastings, she will be taken to Melbourne for fillies and mares features.

Meanwhile, Veyron will be flying the flag for Cambridge in Sydney, where he resumes in the Gr.2 $A175,000 Warwick Stakes (1400m) at Warwick Farm next Saturday.

Trainer Linda Laing is very pleased with the progress being made by Veyron, but there is concern over Norvall’s availability for the ride next weekend.

“I put in for my visa over a month ago and I’m still waiting for it,” said Norvall. “From what they told me at the start, it should have been through weeks ago. Mark (du Plessis) went through the same thing to go to Brisbane earlier in the year.”

Norvall is now dealing with Pathways NZ, a professional provider of New Zealand immigration and visa services, in an attempt to obtain his visa in time to ride Veyron next weekend.

“I was going to fly over on Monday, too,” said Norvall. “But without my visa, I’m stuck here, so I’ve taken rides at Waipa on Wednesday. Hopefully it will come through so I can get over there Thursday. It’s just so frustrating waiting this long for it.”