Kirkie back on best behaviour

BIG OCCASION: Inferno and jockey Shankar Muniandy could be a winning combination in Saturday's Wellington Cup.
BIG OCCASION: Inferno and jockey Shankar Muniandy could be a winning combination in Saturday's Wellington Cup.

Kirkie was cleared to race at Gore on Thursday after a barrier trial before a stipendiary steward at Wingatui yesterday.

The Coats Choice gelding has been reluctant to leave the barrier in recent starts and he was stood down after the Kurow Cup on December 30 until a satisfactory trial. He staged a big run for third to Foneeleven and Dickens in the Kurow Cup.

Mark Davidson, the resident stipendiary steward, gave him the all clear yesterday.

Ashburton trainer Alex Cowan has had Kirkie at Wingatui in the care of Terry Kennedy for barrier practice.

''He has been through the barrier a few times and given no trouble,'' Kennedy said.

Chapel Star and Remind Me, winners for the Kennedy stable at Gore on Saturday, will race next at the premier meeting at Wingatui on February 2.

Ric O'Shea will wear a tongue tie and shadow roll when racing under a big weight at Gore on Thursday.

''He has been holding his breath and we are trying some changes,'' trainer Steven Prince explained at his North Taieri stable yesterday.

''We had him scoped after the Timaru Cup Cup and there is nothing wrong with his breathing passages.''

Prince said Ric O'Shea was comfortable working in the new gear.

''The shadow roll should help with his breathing by keeping his head up. He will have a big weight at Gore but we felt it was better to try the changes there rather than at Riccarton.''

Kylie Williams is back riding Ric O'Shea. She had a winning association with the gelding last season.

Stablemate Recording will be out of action for a fortnight after he nicked a leg on Saturday. He rolled into a fence. Recording has won at Wingatui and Winton from six starts this season.

Terry Moseley is back aboard Natuzzi in the Timaru Stakes at Riccarton on Saturday. Chris Johnson rode Natuzzi to an impressive win at Omakau on January 3. Johnson is at Trentham this week to ride The Solitaire in the Wellington Cup.

Moseley rode Natuzzi for an unlucky sixth in the Berkley Stud Stakes at Wingatui in December 26. Natuzzi became awkwardly placed three back on the inner and Moseley was almost unseated when he dislocated his knee in the closing stages.

Paul Richards, the trainer of Natuzzi, was pleased with the effort of Kirkdouglas to finish eighth at Gore in his first race for the stable. Kirkdouglas won four races when trained by Pam Gerard but he had not raced for 16 months after having a bone chip removed from a knee.

Richards scratched The Bodyguard at Gore on Saturday due to the rain affected track. The Bodyguard will accompany Natuzzi to Riccarton.

Shankar Muniandy, who has ridden Inferno in her 10 wins, will be back aboard the mare in the Wellington Cup on Saturday. Inferno was running on well for third in the Trentham Stakes (2100m) last Saturday when ridden by Michael Coleman. The Wellington Cup is over 2400m.

North Taieri co-trainer and owner Brian Anderton was delighted with the ride of Coleman but he promised stable rider Muniandy the mount if he decided on a Wellington Cup start.

''He (Shankar) does all the work with Inferno and I have confidence in him,'' Anderton said.

Muniandy has not ridden at Trentham, but Anderton said that is not a concern.

''Riding races on the big tracks in not much different. I had my first ride at Trentham on Kumai and went on to win seven races there on him,'' he said. The first was the Parliamentary Handicap in July, 1962.

Muniandy has won two Canterbury Gold Cups at Riccarton on Inferno. He also rode the daughter of Yamanin Vital to win the 2011 Clare Memorial Cup at Omakau.

Ed won the Clare Memorial Cup and Wellington Cup in successive starts in 1995 for Southland owners Bert and and Margaret Crooks and trainer Ces Beckett.

Muniandy, 26, served a four year apprenticeship with the Anderton stable and he has been there for five and a half years. Inferno is at Otaki in the care of Tania Jonker.

The Solitaire and The Glitzy One are also thriving at Otaki in the care of Hec Anderton for his son, trainer Steve in preparation for the Wellington Cup.

''The Solitaire was a bit above herself on Saturday and she over-raced early.The run would do her good,'' Steve said at Wingatui yesterday. The Solitaire ran fourth in the Trentham Stakes.

''The Glitzy One has done really well since she ran fifth in the Marton Cup.''

Rosie Myers has retained the mount for Saturday.

The Southland Times