Camera-shy equine champion, Latest Racing News - The New Paper

Camera-shy equine champion

Lim’s Saltoro refuses to head into victory circle after win

Brilliant but shy.

That just about sums up trainer Daniel Meagher’s “exciting prospect” Lim’s Saltoro, after the four-year-old stamped himself as the most exciting horse in Singapore when winning at Group level for the first time in the $110,000 Silver Bowl over 1,400m on June 9.

And the relatively easy win in the Group 3 feature suggests the son of Shamexpress has a stranglehold on the next two four-year-old features: the Group 2 Stewards’ Cup over 1,600m on June 30 and the Group 1 Singapore Derby over 1,800m on July 21.

While Lim’s Saltoro was the ultimate professional during the Silver Bowl race, his refusal to head into the winners’ circle showed the character that makes him a special horse.

“He’s a very exciting prospect,” said Meagher, who etched his name on the Silver Bowl honour roll for the first time on June 9.

“He’s got his traits. Look! He doesn’t want to go into the winners’ stall. But he’s a very good horse.

“He only does what he has to do. Like when he’s in front, he won’t let them pass him – unless it’s (Lim’s) Kosciuszko.

“And when he’s behind them, he goes past them but he waits for them.

“He’s a funny horse. Very unassuming sometimes, but he’s a very good horse and I’m looking forward to getting him over the mile (Committee’s Prize) because I think that’s what he needs.”

When quizzed about Lim’s Saltoro’s quirky traits by Singapore Turf Club presenter Ethan Mills, Meagher again pointed out that his star was still not playing the game post-race.

“Look at him there – he doesn’t want to go into the winners’ circle,” laughed the Australian conditioner, who had a double on the day after Pacific Padrino ($11) won the $50,000 Well Done 2016 Stakes, a Class 4 race over 1,200m, earlier in the day.

“He’s got a character of his own. You keep to his routine and he will always do the right thing by you.

“He’s very quiet. He just likes to do his own thing.

“We have to work with him a little, but he’s just a real quality horse.

“As you can see, Marc (Lerner) had to jump off him, as he wouldn’t come back (into the winners’ circle). But a very good horse and we are looking forward to the next two legs.”

Would the extra distance (1,600m and 1,800m) of the next two four-year-old features pose any concerns?

“No, I think he wants it,” said Meagher.

“His mother (Lamplighter) won over a long distance.

“Today, I think if he went another 200m, they would have stuck with him but wouldn’t have passed him, I believe.”

Lerner agreed with Meagher that the next two legs were at his mercy and added that Lim’s Saltoro was improving with each win.

“He’s getting better and better,” said the Frenchman.

“You see he has his own character, he doesn’t want to come to the photo!

“He’s hard work every day but, come days like this, he makes us happy. So it’s worth it.

“Everything went smooth (in the race). I was super relaxed and I had him on the long rein.

“He cannot hit the front too early. So I thought the win was pretty soft because you can see he put his ears back and was working a bit.

“Now bring on the next two legs. We are looking forward.

“He’s getting easier and easier.

“It’s sad this place (Kranji) is coming to an end on Oct 5 because next year he would have had a much higher profile.

“He does everything we ask and just looks forward to the next one.”

The only thing Lim’s Saltoro may still not do, though, is stepping into the winners’ enclosure.

But that would just be a happy headache for the connections of the seven-time winner, named after a mountain range, with earnings in excess of $273,000.