Veight kicks off Guineas campaign with McNeil Stakes win

Veight ridden by Damian Lane wins the Mcneil Stakes at Caulfield. (Photo by Pat Scala/Racing Photos)

Veight ($5) has returned an impressive winner in the Group 3 McNeil Stakes (1200m) at Caulfield on Saturday and looks set for an ambitious tilt at Group 1 glory later in the spring.

The Tony & Calvin McEvoy-trained colt stepped out nicely as a two-year-old, taking on the likes of Militarize in the Group 1 ATC Sires’ Produce (1400m) on April 1 before being tipped out for a spell after being unsuited to the wet-track conditions in Sydney.

Prior to the scratching of Barber on Friday afternoon, Veight was a relatively unwanted galloper by the online betting sites, opening around $7.50.

It was a completely different story come race-day, however, with the son of Grunt being well-backed into $5 at the jump.

Damien Lane gave the now three-year-old a perfect steer, lobbing on the back of Coincide ($8.50), who elected to go at a genuine tempo throughout.

Once Lane got the colt into clear running, he was always going to be very hard to chase down, despite the unsuitable trip, with some strong closers just missing out.

Legacies ($4.80) was given every conceivable chance by Jamie Kah from the one-one, while the Blue Diamond winner Little Brose stuck on gamely to fill the trifecta spot.

2023 Group 3 McNeil Stakes Replay – Veight

It’s full steam ahead now as Veight will be set on a Group 1 Caulfield Guineas path, with the prelude in three weeks’ time next on the agenda according to Calvin McEvoy who spoke about his colt post-race.

“We never doubted how he’s been going this preparation,” said McEvoy.

“What’s exciting about today is we’re six weeks’ away from our grand final and there’s plenty of improvement which makes today really special.

“Beauty ride from Frosty (Lane) – we thought we might be able to get one-out one-back, got stuck on the rail, but never looked like he wasn’t going to get a run, and the way he let down, he’s a proper horse.

“The plan that we’ve been comfortable with the whole way through is today, three weeks to the Prelude and three weeks to the Guineas, so I think he’s going to come on leaps and bounds from today.”

It was Damien Lane’s 50th stakes winner at Caulfield and back-to-back wins in the McNeil Stakes after winning last year’s edition aboard Jacquinot.

He spoke about Veight post-race and gave a big wrap on the three-year-old colt pressing towards the Caulfield Guineas.

“This guy’s giving me the feel of a real Guineas type,” said Lane.

“I think he’s going to love getting out to 1400m, then a mile.

“He’s grown up and really filled out. He’s a big strong man and I was probably a little bit surprised how well he went today on the back of his jump-outs, but as good horse do, they can exceed your expectations and his certainly done that.”

Veight is now an equal second-favourite with online bookmakers for the Group 1 Caulfield Guineas (1600m) on October 14.

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