High five for Lim's Kosciuszko
Meagher’s exciting star still has to rise in grades for the Lion City Cup in August
At the unbackable $6 for a $5-win outlay, the unbeaten Lim’s Kosciuszko should deliver what a “racing certainty” should: no anxiety for his followers.
But the Daniel Meagher-trained and Lim’s Stable-owned rising star barely scraped through – fending off new trainer Richard Lim’s first runner, Songgong Hera, by a neck in Saturday’s $70,000 Class 3 event over 1,200m on turf.
The four-year-old Australian-bred appeared done for, when Songgong Hera loomed up menacingly and narrowed the gap with every stride with 200m to go.
Well, that was what many, including yours truly, thought.
But not Lim’s Kosciuszko’s rider, Danny Beasley. After all, the man on top should well know what was below.
“I was not really ever concerned about Songgong Hera because, as Lim’s Kosciuszko has shown from his past runs, he is a real fighter.
“He does not like horses running past him, so I knew he would not let him pass. He’s an exciting horse,” said the Australian, who was runner-up to Kelantan-born rookie Hakim Kamaruddin in the jockeys’ premiership last year.
“I was very happy with his performance, as he has a lot of improvement to come. I felt the track raced very favourable to the front-running horses, so I used that to my advantage.”
Indeed, he did. He knew of the track bias for the day and he concocted the perfect strategy. That is the sign of a top rider.
From the earlier races, it was as clear as crystal that the horses were not winning from behind – be it on the Polytrack or the turf.
All but one of the nine preceding winners, Blitz Power in Race 8, won by leading all the way or by sitting close to the lead.
The Jason Ong-trained Blitz Power came from the rear, under jockey Koh Teck Huat, to score by just a nose from the Jerome Tan-trained Turf Beauty in the $30,000 Class 5 Div 2 event over 1,400m on turf. The runner-up also moved up from behind.
With the track bias in mind, Beasley secured the lead after jumping Lim’s Kosciuszko swiftly from Gate 5. He led from Hadeer, who was hunting him on his outside. Two lengths behind was Songgong Hera, hugging the rails, and covered by Kiss Your Song.
Lim’s Kosciuszko, named after Australia’s highest peak, cruised to lead by more than a length from Hadeer rounding the bend.
In the straight, Beasley began to push. His mount kicked. Hadeer had had enough after the fast first 400m sectional of 23.61sec. New 4kg-claiming apprentice jockey Akmazani Mazuki left his comfort zone and pulled Songgong Hera to the outside to go after the leader.
He inched closer and closer, but Beasley kept Lim’s Kosciuszko humming to the post for his fifth straight success in 1min 09.70sec. His other victories were also under 1min 10sec – underscoring his genuine capability.
All along, Meagher has targeted the Group 1 Lion City Cup over 1,200m on turf for his rising star. But his charge still has to go through a couple of grades to reach his summit race on Aug 14.
“He’ll now go to Class 2. I have spotted a couple of races in late February, but I don’t want to run him in too many races either,” said the Australian.
“He’s a horse who puts in a lot in his races. He puts in 110 per cent each time he goes around. I want to keep him sparingly raced.
“We’ll see how he does and we’ll work out a plan.”
While it looked like a close shave, Meagher prefers to look ahead with his young unfinished product.
“It’s hard to keep such horses going through their grades. At some stage, they will have a fight on their hands,” he said.
“He’s not the finished product yet. I can get him better. He still has some improvement in terms of his looks and fitness, and the whole aspect as a racehorse.
“He went quickly and did it on his own. Things did go straight to plan – which was, if he jumps good, to let him roll, and to take a seat if he jumps fair.
“It was also a very good ride from Danny to avoid a bit of a pressure race. He was out on his feet in the last 100m, but credit to Danny, who took the bull by the horns.”
Meagher took top training honours on Saturday. He also won with Perfect (Beasley) and Lim’s Knight (Koh). His treble took his season’s tally to four winners to be just a winner behind Tim Fitzsimmons.
The youngest of three sons of Australian Hall of Famer-cum-Melbourne Cup winner John Meagher got off auspiciously by taking the first race of 2022 with Lim’s Zoom (Beasley) on Jan 2.
Check here for Saturday's Singapore Polytrack results: