Veyron draws well in Doncaster

Once again Veyron will start alongside the hotpot Pierro when the pair clash in the Gr.1 $A2 million BMW Doncaster Handicap at Randwick on Saturday.

At today’s barrier draw luncheon Veyron landed barrier three in the 1600-metre feature, while Pierro drew barrier four and former Cambridge galloper Sacred Falls nine.

“I’m happy with the draw,” said trainer Linda Laing. “He’s one inside Pierro again and most of the other top chances are drawn out.”

As Laing was relaying the news of the barrier draw, Sydney was the scene of further rain, something which will certainly not hamper Veyron’s prospects in the Doncaster Handicap.

“There’s been a heap of rain overnight,” said Laing. “I wouldn’t want to see it bottomless because the mile at Randwick is like 1800, but the way it is now won’t worry us.”

Though Veyron didn’t pay a dividend in his Australian debut, he ran a solid race for eighth in the George Ryder Stakes (1500m) at Rosehill last Saturday week, less than two lengths behind Pierro.

“I thought it was a top run,” said Laing. “He got beaten a length and three quarters and he missed the start by three lengths. It was partly my fault. He was just too fresh. In the parade ring he was like a two-year-old going to the trials for the first time.”

But the reason for Veyron’s tardy beginning was the problem the attendants had fitting the big horse into his barrier.

“They couldn’t believe how tall and long he is,” said Laing. “They’ve got a different extension mechanism here than at home and he couldn’t fit in properly. The starter told Rogey (Rogan Norvall) to take another step up with him, but he couldn’t. The horse was really squashed in and it’s the first time he’s had some skin off a stifle through the barriers.”

The barrier problem has been addressed and Laing has been assured there will be no repeat of the barrier squeeze for Veyron on Saturday.

Laing is pleased with Veyron’s progress since the George Ryder Stakes and was happy with his work at Warwick Farm this morning. “He worked super,” she said. “He’s settled in well over here and he loves working on the synthetic pro-ride surface.”

Veyron’s work caught the eye of jockey Kerrin McEvoy, who was quick to establish the identity of Norvall’s mount.

But Veyron isn’t the only one attracting favourable attention in Sydney, says Laing.

“They’re really impressed with Rogey over here,” she said. “He’s been riding heaps of work and he had a lot of jumpout rides last week just after he got over and he won on six of them.

“The Sydney folk also can’t get over how he’s out sweeping up and mucking out. They don’t see jockeys doing that over here. They’re impressed by his work ethics.”

South African jockey Glynn Schofield has been trying to persuade Norvall to stay longer, but Norvall isn’t, at this stage, prepared to look beyond Veyron for his Sydney stint.