From the Commentary Box – Monday, 26th August


Anyone who knows Linda Laing will tell you she is a straight shooter.

The Cambridge trainer doesn’t waste words when asked for an opinion.

I had to laugh last Saturday when Laing was interviewed by Australian Racing presenter Richie Callander.

Laing’s stable star Veyron had stunned the Aussie racing media when winning the Group Two Warwick Stakes over 1400m.

With a talented line up against him including hot favourite Rain Affair, Streama and Beaten Up, Veyron was completely over looked in the market.

After scoring by a narrow half head margin, Callander popped the obvious, to him at least, question to Laing.

“Were you surprised by that win? ” asked Callander.

“Not at all ….I thought he was a certainty ” said Laing.

Whether or not Laing was winding up our trans tasman cousins is debatable .

But one thing not in doubt is the satisfaction of winning such a notable race with Veyron in Australia.

Laing’s father, retired trainer Royce Dowling, made it nearly an art form of taking horses to Australia to plunder their big race stakes.

To do it on her own account with her stable star, showed Laing had learnt a bit off her father.

“This is extremely satisfying because when we came over here earlier this year, things didn’t go our way” explained Laing.

Veyron had an interrupted campaign in Sydney after an injury forced his return to NZ after just one start.

“Nothing went right for us last time and to see him show what he’s capable of is a great thrill” said Laing.

You would have forgiven Laing for thinking maybe things weren’t meant to be after another issue earlier in the week.

Regular race day rider Rogan Norvall was unable to take the mount on Veyron after work visa issues.

“Rogan was going to ride him but when we realised he wasn’t able to , we had to find a replacement jockey” said Laing.

Fortunately Sydney based jockey Christian Reith was engaged and what an inspired choice it proved to be.

With a hot pace throughout the 1400m event, Reith had Veyron back in the trailing pack several lengths from the leaders.

Eventually, Veyron was able to overhaul Streama and Rain Affair in a keenly contested home stretch duel, to gain a deserved victory.

Make no mistake, this was a very good training feat by Laing to have Veyron ready for the race.

Veyron was described by jockey Reith as been hard, fit and seasoned.

In reality it was only his second start since April.

“He had a start at Ruakaka and then a couple of exhibition gallops before we brought him over ” said Laing.

“Anyone who saw him in those exhibition gallops would have backed him today” said Laing.

As the lady said , he was a certainty !!


I’ll give you another certainty too.

Get on Ima Heroine in the Great Northern Steeplechase in a couple of week’s time.

The Ann Browne trained mare looked on target for another Great Northern win , when storming home for second last Saturday at Ellerslie.

Ima Heroine chased home Snodroptwinkletoes in the final lead up to the Northern, the Pakuranga Hunt Cup.

Although beaten, Ima Heroine looked the big improver from the race.

There is no doubting Ima Heroine will relish the extra distance of the Great Northern and the three times over the Ellerslie hill is right up her alley.

I’m picking local jumps jockey Shelley Houston will be very keen on her chances of winning with Ima Heroine too.

“That was a lovely run from her today” said Houston afterwards.

“She’ll be very hard to beat in the Northern on that effort” said Houston.

I’d go so far to say Ima Heroine is a certainty !!

Catch you next week.