Ovation for Veyron and his team

Linda Laing’s recognition as the Outstanding Achiever Of The Year Award winner perfectly topped off tonight’s Cambridge Jockey Club’s  2011-12 Awards evening at The Clubhouse Sports Bar in Cambridge.

It was a night which deservedly belonged to Laing and her wonderful galloper Veyron, who scooped five awards, including the main one, the Cambridge Stud CJC Horse Of The Year.

Veyron was recognised with individual awards for each of his three Group One wins, the Waikato Draught Sprint, Haunui Farm WFA Classic and Manco Easter Handicap and he won the Crombie Lockwood Bloodstock Leading Sprinter-Miler Award.

Part-owner Isabel Barker was on hand to receive most of Veyron’s awards and she was quick to praise Laing for the wonderful handling of the popular galloper. She also recognised the efforts of Rogan Norvall, who unfortunately missed the first two Group One wins last season because of injury, but was on hand for victory in the Manco Easter Handicap for the second year in succession.

Veyron is truly a people’s favourite and Laing humbly deflecting any praise of her handling of Veyron to the horse. “He’s such a good horse,” she said. “He comes into work in June and apart from a week off her and there he’s still firing in April.”

Laing rates the Manco Easter Handicap as her favourite win of the past season. “It was Rogie’s (Norvall) first Group ride back and I was so happy to see him win,” said Laing, who thanked Mark Hills, Jamie Gillies and Ethan Daly for riding Veyron during Norvall’s injured period.

Laing also gave credit to her mother, Barbara, and sons, Ryan and Danny (who were all in attendance), for helping her succeed in her training career.

“I’d be lost without Mum’s help,” she said. “She was the backbone when Dad (Royce) was training and I couldn’t be doing what I’m doing without her help and the support of my boys. It’s a team effort.”

Veyron was responsible for three of the nine Group One wins recorded by Cambridge-trained horses during the 2011-12. The Paul Duncan-trained Say No More picked up two Group Ones (the Harcourt’s Thorndon Mile and Te Aroha Fiber Fresh Thoroughbred Breeders’ Stakes), while the other Group One winners were Lion Tamer (Underwood Stakes), Artistic (NZ Oaks), Sangster (VRC Derby) and Silent Achiever ( NZ Derby).

The record for the most Group One wins by Cambridge horses in a season is 10, recorded two terms ago.

 For the first time the judges were unable to split an award, opting for a triple deadheat for the Herbert Morton Leading Three-Year-Old Trophy between Sangster, Silent Achiever and Artistic).

Rollout The Carpet was a decisive winner of the JLT Bloodstock Leading Two-Year-Old Award, while other award winners were El Marino (Hautapu Veterinary Clinic Leading Jumper), Six O’Clock News (The Clubhouse Sports Bar Leading Stayer), Richard Cully (Group One Turf Bar Leading Jumps Jockey), Alex Forbes (Cambridge Equine Hospital Leading Apprentice), Jason Waddell (Cambridge United Travel Leading Senior Jockey), Roger and Sheryl McGlade (Alan Pringle Memorial Leading Jumping Trainer), Dave Murray (Northern Raceday Services Leading Owner-Trainer) and Murray Baker (Bruce Macdonald Memorial Leading Trainer and ARC Leading Trainer on Premier Days).

Cambridge JC Track Manager Derek Collett won the Alan Bremner Memorial Contribution to Cambridge Racing Award.

Sponsors of the individual Group One awards were: Nationwide Horse Transport, Fairview Ford, NZ Bloodstock Insurance, Windsor Park Stud, Trelawney Stud, Majestic Horse Floats, Cambridge Farriers, Cogswell Surveys and Mana Park, while the evening was sponsored by Cambridge Stud.

The Awards evening was held in conjunction with the Waikato Apprentice Jockeys’ School Prizegiving. Rory Hutchings was named Leading Apprentice and winner of the Best All-Round Apprentice Award, while Alex Forbes was recognised as the Most Outstanding Ride by an Apprentice for his win on Kate at Hastings.

Josh Oliver picked up two awards (the Quiet Achiever and Most Promising First-Year Apprentice), while the Directors’ Award was shared by Daniel Miller and Brendon Hutton. Phillip Turner was named Most Improved Apprentice, Aimee Taylor (Leading Female Apprentice) and Thavia Barnabas won the Paddy Murray Award (for best presented at the scales).