Eighth wonder for Lim's Kosciuszko
Trainer Daniel Meagher’s new pin-up horse stretches his unbeaten run in first mile test
The word was out that Saturday’s Kranji Stakes A race could finally expose a few chinks in the armour of the unbeaten Lim’s Kosciuszko, but they proved to be totally imaginary.
A first mile test in the $100,000 event was regarded as the main banana skin that could see the rising star’s seven-win streak undone, along with the long course and the five weeks between runs.
But, after the boom four-year-old breezed through like he has done it all his life, while again running rings around his rivals, it felt almost embarrassing that those doubts had been entertained, even for trainer Daniel Meagher.
“We planned to test him over the mile with the Kranji Mile coming up. If he didn’t see it out, that would be it, and it’d be back to the Lion City Cup,” said the Australian.
“The mile was a query. But, being by Kermadec, I thought he should get it. I was still very nervous as it was his first time over the mile, but he scored a soft win in the end.
“We knew he would go forward and we thought he would drop the bit at some stage. I thought he was taken on early on the long course, but he showed all his class.
“It was a bit of a question mark, but after what he did today, why did we even question him?”
One attribute that needed no querying was his gate speed. Zooming into the lead the moment the gates opened, Lim’s Kosciuszko effortlessly kept his closest pursuers Circuit Mission (A’Isisuhairi Kasim) and Savvy Command (Ronnie Stewart) at bay, while clocking searing sectionals.
But he did look like a sitting duck as Circuit Mission and Sacred Croix (Rizuan Shafiq) came alongside to make a line of three at the 500m mark.
Usually at that juncture, he would have only 100 to 200m to go. But, with another 400m to put astern along the endlessly long Kranji home straight, upset lovers were rooting for Circuit Mission, the only one within striking distance and who could still inflict him with a first taste of defeat. The others were already out of gas.
The downfall of the $7 hot shot never happened, though. Circuit Mission soon also ran out of gas.
Under Danny Beasley’s hands and heels riding, Lim’s Kosciuszko careered away to a 11/4-length win from Circuit Mission, as if taunting him and the beaten brigade to a tougher challenge the next time.
Smashing the class record by 0.82sec in 1min 34.07sec – only 0.79sec outside Magneto’s eight-year-old course record – Lim’s Kosciuszko has unequivocally silenced anyone who thought he was suspect at the trip.
But Beasley was still containing his excitement.
“It was a big test for him today. Going out to the 1,600m was like getting out of his comfort zone a bit,” said the Australian jockey.
“He is bred to get it, being by Kermadec and out of a Keeper mare (Jacquetta). He’s got that sprinting attitude, that’s how he was trained.
“Things didn’t go perfectly today, though. To get him out to the Kranji Mile, he’ll have to improve, but the signs are there that he can do better.”
After the Group 1 Lion City Cup (1,200m) and Group 1 Singapore Derby (1,800m) were first mooted, the $1 million Group 1 Kranji Mile (1,600m) came into the picture only as a bit of an afterthought to the two Dan’s. But it is now all systems go to Singapore’s first feature race on May 21.
Beasley, who had already stated he would stick with Singapore Horse of the Year Lim’s Lightning in the Kranji Mile, still marvelled at the heights Lim’s Kosciuszko – who is named after Australia’s highest peak – has reached despite being thrown a few curveballs.
“It’s been five weeks between runs, but we’ve kept him up to the mark with two trials. Credit to Dan for the job he’s done,” said Beasley.
“Two weeks ago, the staff and myself came down with Covid-19. For 10 days, the stable was not going as normally as before.
“Thankfully, CC (Wong Chin Chuen) and Jake Bayliss came in to ride a few horses. The team has unbelievably come together.”
The two lynchpins of that well-oiled outfit have long done without barking orders at each other.
“I train, he rides. I don’t have to tell Danny what to do, he’s a quality jockey,” said Meagher.
Saturday's Singapore Results: