VAAL SAND: Kiribati has class to outlast Laird trio

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VAAL SAND: Kiribati has class to outlast Laird trio

Trainer Sean Tarry

JACK MILNER
PLEASE take note that racing has been moved from turf to sand track:
Most punters naturally assume Anton Marcus rides the stable elect when Charles Laird has more than one runner in a race, but Thursday at the Vaal a couple of the jockey’s decisions appear somewhat strange.

<p><u><strong>Patrons please note that racing has been moved from turf to sand track:</strong></u></p> <p>In Race 4, a Graduation Plate for fillies and mares over 1600m on the turf, Laird has three runners – Super Radiance, Choice Dancer and Bikini Miss – and on paper Choice Dancer looks the pick. Marcus, however, will be aboard Bikini Miss, whose only victory came over 1800m on the Turffontein inside track. <br /> Choice Dancer ran a 0.50-length second to Geoff Woodruff’s Paradiso, who looks above average.</p> <p>Curiously, Marcus has not ridden the Danehill Dancer filly in any of her three races and Francois Naude, who has been in the irons in Choice Dancer’s last two starts, gets the ride again.</p> <p>Super Radiance took on many of these same runners in a Graduation Plate over 1400m at the track in her last start and was backed from 6-1 to 2-1. She disappointed by finishing sixth, four lengths behind stablemate Party Line. Marcus may have been a little hasty abandoning the daughter of Silvano as that was her second run after a fourth-month rest and she is likely to improve. Johnny Geroudis gets the ride.</p> <p>Two details favour Bikini Miss over her stablemates. She ran third to Sweet Sanette in her debut with Choice Dancer, who was also having her first start, 6.25 lengths behind her. Secondly, in finishing second to Candy Singer over 1400m at the Vaal back in December, she completed the distance in nearly 2 sec faster time than Choice Dancer. On the negative side, no winners have come from the 11 runners she beat when recording her maiden victory and she appeared to be going nowhere last time out when beaten 3.50 lengths into fourth by Rutana.</p> <p>Whichever Laird runner turns out to be the “right one’’, they may all struggle to beat Sean Tarry’s Kiribati. The stable has been going through some lean times but at the last couple of meetings it seemed that things were finally beginning to pan out again for this hard-working trainer and his team.</p> <p>Kiribati came from last to win the Listed Starling Stakes over 1400m at Turffontein in November in&#160; her third-last start, beating home345 Thin Red Line, Zirconeum and Chiquita, who are all highly regarded runners. She was then unsuited by the slow pace when fifth to Sweet Theresa over 1600m at Turffontein in the Hertz Fillies Mile, but ran well enough when fourth behind Party Line over 1400m at the Vaal, beaten just 0.75 lengths.</p> <p>Andrew Fortune, who leads the jockeys’ race with 133 winners, 29 clear of Marcus, makes the journey from Cape Town to ride Kiribati. The Model Man filly is well weighted in terms of the conditions of the race but against her is she has never won over 1600m. With Fortune’s patient handling, any stamina doubts should be put to rest.</p> <p>Pushing The Edge is the best-weighted runner but she, too, has never won beyond 1450m and could find this tough 1600m beyond her. Nonetheless, Geoff Woodruff’s filly rarely finishes out of the money and is unlikely to spoil her record.</p> <p>Although in the race under sufferance, Mike Azzie’s Thundering Lady could be worth throwing into Trifectas and Quartets. She has won two of her five starts but has yet to take on a field of this class. Gavin Lerena has been among the winners of late for Azzie and any betting moves for the daughter of Requiem could prove significant.</p> <p>Even Enchanted has improved since fitted with blinkers and caught the eye when a five-length fifth to Gypsy’s Warning in a Graduation Plate over 1800m at Turffontein in December. Stuart Pettigrew’s runner was reported to be not striding out that day. If that problem has been corrected, she could go close in this field, especially with just 53.5kg to shoulder and Willie Figueroa on her back.</p>

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