Laird’s Aussie plans still on hold

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Laird’s Aussie plans still on hold

Charles Laird

TRAINER Charles Laird, who currently heads the South African trainers’ table, says his plans to emigrate to Australia are still on hold pending the realisation of certain requisites from Australian racing authorities.

<p>It was reported on Monday in the Sydney Morning Herald that Laird planned to "follow in the footsteps of former countryman David Payne and move to Australia. However, whereas Payne operates from Sydney, Laird plans to operate from Melbourne".</p>
<p>Laird, who trains principally for champion owner Markus Jooste, said yesterday: "Those plans have been put on hold indefinitely because I couldn’t get right number of stables. I’ve given the Flemington authorities till September 2009 to come back to me.</p>
<p>"I can’t run a business with only 15 stables," he continued, adding he would need 30 to 35 boxes if he was to make the transition a successful one – particularly because he’d already been offered several horses by Australian owners.</p>
<p>Laird had planned on relocating to Australia earlier this year and had an 18 horse-string in Melbourne, including South African star Seventh Rock, when the Victorian Racing Club confirmed they could only guarantee him 15 stables at Flemington. The 17 horses bought in Australia for Laird to train were shipped back to South Africa. Seventh Rock stayed behind with trainer David Hayes and is due to run at the end of January.</p>
<p>"I’ve put certain other requests on the table as well and, if they’re all met, I’ll consider starting the process all over again," he continued. "It could be two or three years down the line – or even 10. In this current economic climate, I’ve got to consider all the costs involved. I need to do things properly."</p>
<p>It had been suggested he could train successfully in both countries, but he commented: "The two countries are too far apart. It just couldn’t work."</p>
<p>While Laird’s ultimate goal "Down Under" would be to have his own training establishment, he said: "Not to begin with. I would need to learn the ropes in Australia first, so I would have to be on a racecourse and use their facilities. Two to three years down line I might have set up pre-farm and taken it from there.</p>
<p>"But at this point, it’s moot, in limbo. We’ll have to see what happens in the next year." – Nicci Garner</p>
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