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Lim’s Kosciuszko heads busy dual-feature race day for Meagher

3 minute read

This time last year, it was all about Lim’s Kosciuszko, the red-hot $6 favourite in the $1 million Group 1 Kranji Mile (1600m) and the pressure was on trainer Daniel Meagher.

LIM'S KOSCIUSZKO winning the EW BARKER TROPHY GROUP 2 Picture: Singapore Turf Club

The reigning Singapore Horse of the Year's only real blemish then had been in the 2022 Kranji Mile where he finished 10th to stablemate Lim's Lightning and Meagher was keen for Lim's Kosciuszko  to make amends.

While the Australian conditioner had a few other runners on the day – and Saturno Spring won the Class 3 race (1800m) – it is history now that Lim's Kosciuszko duly delivered in the 2023 Kranji Mile.

A year later, the horse they call 'Kosi' will be back to defend his Kranji Mile title and with a support cast that would headline any other meeting this time.

Lim's Bighorn  would probably start as favourite in the $150,000 Group 2 Singapore Guineas (1600m) and Lim's Saltoro will be hard to beat in the Kranji Stakes A race (1200m).

In addition, Meagher also has Tiger Roar in the Kranji Mile, Lim's Smythe in the Singapore Guineas, Lim's Bestbreaker in the Kranji Stakes A race and six other runners elsewhere. Meagher will be keen on multiple successes on arguably Singapore's most prestigious day of racing while trying to balance the weight on his shoulders.

"It's more pressure if anything," said Meagher on Tuesday.

"It was probably about having one really good horse (Lim's Kosciuszko) in the Kranji Mile last year and we were obviously keen to win that race with him.

"But this time, I have three big races and some serious horses to worry about, so it's plenty of pressure but also very exciting.

"It's a big week leading into races like these but I'm happy when I go home every morning after work knowing the horses are safe and sound and are ready to show their best come Saturday."

While Lim's Bighorn and Lim's Saltoro will get plenty of attention from media and punters, Lim's Kosciuszko was still the star of the biggest show at Kranji.

"It's his grand final," said Meagher of the six-year-old son of Kermadec.

"Of course he has other big races coming up, starting with the (Group 1) Lion City Cup (1200m on 28 July), but the Kranji Mile had been his aim in the first half of the year.

"We worked backwards and while we had that setback with quarantine after Hong Kong, it might have been a blessing in disguise as it put Dubai (World Cup meeting on 30 March) off the table.

"And his two races (Kranji Stakes A race over 1200m on 23 March and the Group 2 EW Barker Trophy over 1400m on 21 April) in preparation for the Kranji Mile were excellent.

"I honestly wasn't concerned if he won or lost those races but I thought his win in the EW Barker (Trophy) was one of his best given the time (1 min 21.03 secs), statistics and figures.

"He carried 59kgs at the handicap conditions (in the EW Barker Trophy), so obviously he is hard to beat carrying 57kgs at set weights on Saturday.

"He's well. (Jockey) Marc (Lerner) didn't do much on him at his (barrier) trial (finished third to Ghalib in trial no 2 on 9 May) and that hit-out tightened him (Lim's Kosciuszko) up perfectly.

"He's the best horse in the race and if there are no late dramas, he goes into the race in great condition."

The same could be said for star three-year old Lim's Bighorn, who was undefeated at four starts this year; including his last-start win in the Group 2 Singapore Three-Year-Old Classic (1400m) on 27 April.

"Can't fault him," said Meagher of the son of Better Than Ready.

"We missed the (Singapore) 3YO Sprint (1200m) as I thought he was a bit plain when (jockey) Manoel (Nunes) won on him in March (in a Class 4 Division 1 race over 1200m).

"By pedigree and attitude, I always knew the 1400m and mile would suit him, so we gave him a freshen-up before the (3YO) Classic.

"He was fit and I was confident of a top-three finish, but Marc's ride was outstanding, perhaps his best, and that made the difference in my opinion.

"The mile suits and he's a go-forward type, so he should run well again.

"Lim's Smythe (x Saxon Warrior) will improve too. He had no luck in the (3YO) Classic (checked and finished seventh) and he will be strong late for (visiting jockey) Chad (Schofield).

"And don't forget Tiger Roar (x Wandjina) in the Kranji Mile if there is some rain. (Jockey) Simon (Kok) will ride him."

While the Kranji Stakes A race does not enjoy Group status, it looks a beauty on paper with Lim's Saltoro extremely hard to beat after narrowly going down to Lim's Kosciuszko in the EW Barker Trophy at his last start.

"He's an exciting horse, right?" said Meagher of the four-year-old son of Shamexpress.

"Being back from 1400m is no trouble and he looks very well-in with 52.5kgs.

"(Jockey) Bruno (Queiroz) will stay on and this race will be a perfect run before the (three) four-year-old (Group) races starting with the Silver Bowl."

The Group 3 Silver Bowl (1400m) will be run on 9 June, followed by the Group 2 Steward's Cup (1600m) on 30 June and the Group 1 Singapore Derby (1800m) on 21 July.

Singapore Turf Club

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