Veight purrs in the 2024 Australia Stakes

A trip to Moonee Valley earlier in the week has paved the way for exciting three-year-old Veight to make a winning return to the racetrack.

The Tony and Calvin McEvoy-trained colt became the first of his age to win the Group 2 Australia Stakes (1200m) since Holler scored in 2016.

Sent out the $2.15 betting apps favourite under Damian Lane, Veight scored a short neck win over Southport Tycoon ($5) with Recommendation ($3.20) a head away third.

Veight was having his first outing since finishing fifth in the Group 1 Coolmore Stud Stakes (1200m) at Flemington last spring.

Calvin McEvoy said Veight was given a break at Fulmen Park and kept in light work with the view of an autumn campaign taking on older horses.

Part of the build to Saturday’s first-up assignment, which will be followed by Group 1 tests in the Orr Stakes and Futurity Stakes, both over 1400m at Caulfield next month, was a trip to Moonee Valley on Tuesday for a gallop.

“We’ve really noticed him switch on over the last four or five days,” McEvoy said.

“I think the trip here on Tuesday was crucial in that. Once he got home from that, he had his chest puffed out.

“He had to chase today, but he really knuckled down there and that is what you want to see these good colts do.

“He’s proved himself against the older horses now and let’s hope he can go and do that again next start.”

The Orr Stakes is next following by the Futurity and McEvoy said the stable had not ruled out a start in the Group 1 Australian Guineas (1600m) at Flemington in March.

McEvoy also suggested the Group 1 Newmarket Handicap (1200m) could also be considered if they felt the Guineas trip was beyond him.

“He’s pretty explosive at these 1200 and 1400-metre trips, so it’s exciting,” McEvoy said.

Lane said Veight had become easier to handle this campaign having ridden the colt during the spring.

“He could get on one-rein a little bit last prep whereas the three times I’ve ridden him this preparation he’s been really good,” Lane said.

“To the eye you can see he’s a little bit stronger and hopefully that holds him in good stead into the autumn.”

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