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Dubai off as Kosciuszko aims to defend Kranji Mile title

3 minute read

Connections of Lim’s Kosciuszko have shelved plans on the hit-and-run mission to the Dubai World Cup meeting in March and instead opted for a local preparation towards the Group 1 Kranji Mile (1600m) on 18 May.

LIM'S KOSCIUSZKO winning the KRANJI MILE GROUP 1 Picture: Singapore Turf Club

It will all begin at the barrier trial this Thursday as the six-year-old son of Kermadec will have his first serious hit-out after returning from international duties in Hong Kong in December.

Trainer Daniel Meagher had been weighing up options for his stable star as he prepares to defend his 2023 Kranji Mile title, but with a quarantine setback after his gallant ninth in the Group 1 Longines Hong Kong Mile (1600m), time was the biggest factor in the final decision.

Meagher had nominated Lim's Kosciuszko  in the US$5 million (S$6.7 million) Group 1 Dubai Turf (1800m) and the US$1.5 million (S$2.01 million) Group 1 Al Quoz Sprint (1200m) at the Dubai World Cup night on 30 March, but his extended quarantine period after returning from Hong Kong, coupled with a foot injury when he was isolated, made the timeline for Dubai tighter than Meagher would have liked.

Also, Lim's Kosciuszko's welfare was paramount as always, hence the decision to eye for local riches instead.

"We ran out of time," explained the young Australian conditioner.

"It was always going to be tight after the stuff-up with his blood samples when he was in quarantine. He had foot issues as well, so he lost a lot of condition after his Hong Kong run.

"Not ideal, but you know he is tough enough to get over things like that quickly, so we kept our options open. But in the end, he probably needed an extra week or two for a trip to Dubai.

"The Kranji Mile had always been his main aim this season and staying home gives us the best chance to have him peaking come May."

Unlike last year when the seven-time Group 1 winner had two weight-for-age races in the Group 3 Merlion Trophy (1200m) and the Group 1 Raffles Cup (1600m) in preparation for his Kranji Mile victory, Meagher had to find another route this time.

"Again, not ideal," he continued.

"He will trial as planned on Thursday and have another (trial) before he returns in a Kranji Stakes A race over 1200m on the Polytrack on 23 March.

"He will obviously give weight to everyone in that race but it will serve its purpose. We will then head to the (Group 2) EW Barker Trophy (1400m) as his final lead-up (race) to the Kranji Mile.

"He will give some nice horses plenty of weight at the handicap conditions in the EW Barker (Trophy) too, but that's the best path we have available to have him at 100% for his grand finale (Kranji Mile).

"(Jockey) Marc (Lerner) will be riding and to be honest, we don't expect him (Lim's Kosciuszko) to win every race at handicap conditions. If he wins, he wins. But at his level, the weight-for-age races are his to lose.

"But one step at a time and as it stands, I couldn't be happier with him health-wise. He's really turned the corner since his quarantine setback and it will be great to see him back trialling and racing."

The EW Barker Trophy will be run on 21 April.

While all eyes will be on Lim's Kosciusko in the trials on Thursday, Meagher also looks forward to the return of another runner Lim's Saltoro, that will carry the famous blue and yellow star silks in the $50,000 Class 4 Division 1 race over 1200m on Saturday.

Unbeaten in three starts, Meagher reckoned the four-year-old son of Shamexpress will still be hard to beat first-up.

"As you would expect, he's (Lim's Saltoro) not fully wound up," he said.

"He's a big horse, around 540kgs, so you have to leave a little in the tank. But he's fit enough and his recent trial was good (finished second in trial no 2 to Summer Wind on 22 February).

"Marc rides him on Saturday and he was really happy with how he is going. He's a nice horse and should run very well.

"His main aim will be the (Group 3) Silver Bowl (1400m) as he should get the trip and we'll see where he heads to after that.

"There looks to be some nice four-year-olds this year, so it will be a great race."

Opened to four-year-olds, the Silver Bowl will be held on 9 June.

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