Veight humming ahead of the Australian Guineas

Tony Mcevoy didn’t have a runner in last Saturday’s Group 1 Futurity Stakes, but the result brought a smile to his face.

Mr Brightside’s 1-1/2-length win over Pericles and Buffalo River in the 1400-metre weight-for-age contest franked the form of the McEvoy-trained Veight ahead of this Saturday’s Group 1 Australian Guineas.

Veight was beaten 1-1/4 lengths by Mr Brightside, now a six-time Group 1 winner, in the C F Orr Stakes on February 10, seven days before Riff Rocket and King Colorado consolidated their Guineas claims with a one-two finish in the Group 3 C S Hayes Stakes.

Riff Rocket and King Colorado head betting on Saturday’s $1 million event and while McEvoy considers that duo Veight’s biggest threats this weekend, he is happy with the path he has taken with the son of Grunt.

“I think that’s better form than the C S Hayes,” McEvoy said of Veight’s formline.

“But Riff Rocket and the second horse (King Colorado), they’re both high-quality three-year-olds and there’s your three Guineas horses in that sentence; Veight and those two.

“They’re going to be very, very hard to beat in the Guineas.”

Veight, Riff Rocket and King Colorado are among 21 nominations for the 1600m Australian Guineas, with three-time Group 1 winner Militarize, Kiwi Group 1 winner Quintessa, Verdad, the untapped Otago and Autumn Stakes winner Snow Patrol among their potential rivals.

The Orr Stakes followed a first-up win in the Group 2 Australia Stakes (1200m) for Veight and while the Guineas represents another rise in trip, McEvoy is confident the colt is better equipped to handle it than he was when he beat home all bar Griff in the Caulfield Guineas.

“He’s a much stronger horse now and he’ll run a mile for sure,” McEvoy, who trains in partnership with his son Calvin, said.

“He ran second in the Caulfield Guineas and he didn’t drop out, so he actually ran the mile.

“But I just felt, with the run he had in the race – he peeled off the winner’s back at the top of the straight – that he just didn’t have a killer punch then, whereas he will have a killer punch this year.”

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