Reith aboard Veyron in Epsom

Christian Reith has been booked to ride Veyron in the Gr. 1 $A500,000 Epsom Handicap, but trainer Linda Laing has one major concern going into the October 5 feature at Randwick.

The Cambridge trainer is pleased Reith is sticking with Veyron after riding him into third behind Stream and Royal Descent in last Saturday’s Gr. 1 George Main Stakes and her focus is now on having Veyron at peak fitness for the feature 1600 metres while keeping an ear on the progress of race rival Sincero.

The weights for the Epsom Handicap will be raised 1kg following the defection yesterday of Shoot Out, who has been retired, and that leaves Sincero the topweight ahead of Veyron. Sincero’s weight will be raised to the guaranteed topweight of 58kg and Veyron to 57kg.

“I just hope Sincero pays up,” said Laing. “Otherwise we are going to get 58 kilos. It’s going to be hard enough for him without having to carry the topweight as well.”

Sincero clashed with Veyron in last Saturday’s George Main Stakes and finished almost four lengths from the winner, Streama, beating just Shoot Out home in the nine-horse field. It was his second run back from a spell and he was also second-last fresh-up in the Gr. 3 Tramway Stakes.

Though concerned about Veyron’s weight, Laing is thrilled with her stable star and his performance last Saturday. Reith soon had Veyron in front from his outside draw and the multiple Group One winner fought doggedly when taken on in the run home.

At the finish Veyron was a length and a half from Streama and it was a turnaround in placings from Streama’s first-up run when she finished second in the Gr. 2 Warwick Stakes at Warwick Farm on August 24 behind Veyron, who was ridden for the first time by Reith.

“The two mares had the drop on him and with their (lesser) weight they got the better of him,” said Laing. “But I was proud of Jethro (Veyron). He still beat all the other males.”

Veyron carried 59kg, as opposed to the 57kg of Streama and the 56.5kg of Royal Descent.

Reith was pleased with Veyron’s performance. “He said he was so tough,” said Laing. “He also said he would love to ride him in a handicap without much weight, but I told him that wasn’t going to happen. He’ll never get down in the weights now.”

Laing is pleased with the way Veyron has come through last Saturday’s race. “He only lost a kilo from the race and he came back and ate everything in sight that night,” said Laing. “He’s absolutely thrived over here.”