Excellent Zabeel Classic trial

Cambridge galloper Veyron could not have produced a better dress rehearsal for the Group I Zabeel Classic on Boxing Day that he did at Te Rapa today.

Lumping the clear topweight of 60.5kg and ridden for the first time by Leith Innes, Veyron left no excuses for his opposition when he won the White Bros Panelworks & Truck Services 1600 by three-quarters of a length from the stayer, Roi d’Jeu,who pleased Cambridge trainer Shaune Ritchie with his effort.

Veyron has now won 10 of his 16 starts and Innes says he can’t wait to ride the son of Thorn Park in the Zabeel Classic, the $200,000 weight-for-age 2000 metres at Ellerslie.

“I was a bit worried before the race that maybe Te Rapa and the wet track with 60.5kg on his back might be too much for him today, but I shouldn’t have worried,” said Innes. “He did it on his ear and the way he felt he should get 2000 metres. He couldn’t have been more impressive.”

Innes had spoken to regular rider Rogan Norvall during the week and was given an insight into the horse’s habits. But on the day there was nothing to worry about as Veyron did everything to perfection.

“He’s a big horse and he seems even bigger when you’re on him,”said Innes. “I feel sorry for Rogan, but someone had to ride him and I’m lucky it’s me.”

Norvall suffered injuries in a fall at the Cambridge trials last Tuesday and for just the second time he missed the ride on Veyron.

Trainer Linda Laing admitted that like Innes she also was a bit concerned before today’s race, especially when the rain came. “With all that rain and with his 60.5kg I would have been happy to see him run third or fourth,” said Laing. “It was a bit of a surprise how well he won.”

Laing had a quick quip for Innes as the rider returned to the winner’s enclosure on Veyron. “I told Leith that was the easiest $600 he has earned,” said Laing. “I also told him if he thought that was good wait until he rides him right-handed.”

Today’s win was Veyron’s first win at Te Rapa whereas he has recorded seven of his victories on the Ellerslie track, adding to the confidence in his chances on Boxing Day.

Veyron didn’t come through today’s run unscathed as Laing was nursing an eye injury he suffered during the race. “He must have copped a clod in the eye,” said Laing. “I’ve been bathing it and it’ll soon some right. It hasn’t worried him. He was still looking for his tea.”