Charles Laird On A Fascinating Double

After Good Council won the Listed Aquanaut Handicap at Turffontein on Saturday and Gimme Gorgeous cracked his maiden at Hollywoodbets Greyville on Sunday, it was fascinating to hear of one of those little coincidences as he laid the foundation with the multiple Gr1- Winner Charles Laird touched on making horse racing a fascinating game.

What are the odds of two well-bred fillies bought at the Nationals nine years ago, trained by Charles Laird, owned by Alesh Naidoo and sold in a package to leading Cape breeder Avontuur, whose offspring are within 24 hours of each other impressive win? same weekend?

Charles Laird – grab the top rider

So what’s the connection between the Avontuur-bred pair of SA Derby contender Good Council (Oratorio), who celebrated the peak of his career in Turffontein on Saturday, and the Duncan Howells-trained Gimme Gorgeous (Gimmethegreenlight), who celebrated Sunday in KZN won?

Good Council wins Listed Aquanaut Handicap on Saturday (Image – JC Photos)

The dams of both winners were purchased by Patterson Racing on behalf of Alesh Naidoo’s Fire Racing Trust at the 2014 BSA National Yearling Sale for R550,000 each.

Madame Justice (Dynasty), the dam of Smart Council, is a full sister to Horse Of The Year Legislate and she only ran twice, winning her second start by 9.25 lengths.

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Charles Laird trained both of Clairwood’s fillies and tells the tale in a quick catch-up on Sunday Sporting contribution that Anton Marcus rode Madame Justice in both starts.

“She started both starts in the red and her first run in the 1000m was too short. She finished fourth under a length. Next time we couldn’t miss a mile and she duly won by nearly ten lengths, 7-10, without an overtime. I then told Alesh that she would probably win four or five, but her paddock value was huge. I could have been selfish but Avontuur was keen to buy them as a package and Alesh understood the value of rotating his horses when the price was right,” adds Charles Laird.

Sean Veale leads Gimme Gorgeous to victory (Image – Candies Lenferna)

Gimme Gorgeous’ dam, Hannah Gorgeous (Fort Wood), is a half sister to another SA Horse of the Year in Futura. She never raced but ended up alongside Madame Justice in the glorious paddocks of Avontuur.

“I remember they got here. Hannah Gorgeous was a beautiful filly. Madame Justice walked behind her and I was like, mmm! But look what she did today! She is filled and a gorgeous, beautiful broodmare,” recalls a happy Pippa Mickleburgh who has already booked her ticket to the WSB SA Derby Day!

The 65-year-old Charles Laird comes from one of the great racing driver dynasties in South Africa and made his license in September 1995 as the successor to his father Russell.

He started on a high when National Emblem won the John Skeaping at their very first meeting, and Charles still rates the magnificent racehorse and stallion as the best he has trained.

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He had previously worked as a handicapper at Turffontein, for the TBA and at a stud farm.

Charles Laird, now retired in the sleepy town of Paarl in Boland, says he misses the racing game and keeps in touch. If necessary, he is available with advice and action.

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