Lim's Kosciuszko gets HK nod, Latest Racing News - The New Paper

Lim's Kosciuszko gets HK nod

Meagher’s top sprinter-miler set to contest the G1 Hong Kong Sprint (1,200m) on Dec 11

After weeks of speculation, Singapore’s new superstar Lim’s Kosciuszko is confirmed to run in Hong Kong on Dec 11.

Trainer Daniel Meagher’s 11-time winner, and two-time Group 1 victor, received the precious Hong Kong Jockey Club invitation to contest the HK$24 million (S$4.23 million) Group 1 Longines Hong Kong Sprint (1,200m) on Wednesday. He is booked to fly out on Dec 2.

The Kermadec five-year-old is the only Singapore-based horse to get the nod, and the first to race there since another Lim’s Stable ward, the Stephen Gray-trained Lim’s Cruiser, ran seventh in the Sprint in 2018.

Four other Singapore horses – Relentless, Super Impact, King Arthur and Hard Too Think – were among the 172 entries, but did not make the cut for the HK$110 million 2022 Longines Hong Kong International Races.

The other three Group 1 events are the HK$34 million Hong Kong Cup (2,000m), the HK$30 million Hong Kong Mile (1,600m) and HK$22 Hong Kong Vase (2,400m).

“It’s an honour to be selected to compete against the best sprinters in the world. It’s no fluke, no easy feat to get there,” said Meagher.

“It’s a massive achievement to my staff and it’s a real boost to Singapore racing.”

Lim’s Kosciuszko was always in the box-seat for a ticket but it all hinged on the good graces of the Hong Kong handicapping department, and which higher-rated horses were in the running for the limited seats available.

Meagher had an inkling Lim’s Kosciuszko’s commanding Saturday victory since his Group 1 double (Singapore Derby-Lion City Cup) in July-August would slash his odds, but has still nervously been clicking the refresh button in his mailbox.

“I got the good news on Monday but was officially told today. He’s leaving next Friday,” said the Australian handler, who has wasted no time in setting the wheels in motion.

“I fly out on the same flight. Two syces will also be going with him.

“Paperback Trooper, his next-door neighbour in the stables, will follow him. When Lim’s Kosciuszko was getting ready for the Derby, he was the one who led him to the tracks every morning, he has taught him to settle, he has been a big help.

“Danny Beasley leaves the next day, and will ride him in work and on race day. So he’ll have a quiet day on Saturday, and will start work on Sunday.

“He has pulled up really well and looks fantastic. He’s doing his main work here and will have a gallop next Wednesday (Nov 30).

“We’ve already got him working on the ‘Hong Kong track’ (Track No. 3 at Kranji where horses work the clockwise way, hence the name), so he can get used to that well before he gets there.

“I would imagine the level of activity would be a lot different in Hong Kong. So, I’m trying to tick all the boxes before getting there.”

Meagher may be at his first overseas venture in his young six-year training career in his own right, but he is certainly no stranger to travelling horses.

“I was the travelling foreman slash track rider to my dad (ex-Kranji trainer John Meagher) with Lim’s Classic, Lim’s Grand, Arenti and Recast when they went to Dubai, so I’ve had a bit of experience in this,” he said.

“The key to it is to keep things as simple as you can – keep them happy, nice and comfortable.

“We have to get all their needs before and after the trip, but the after-care is very important.

“A flight is like a barrier trial, so we don’t do too much. Recovery and rehydration are very important.”

Getting the go-ahead is only half the battle won. A stellar cast of nine locals and four Japanese raiders still stand in their way.

With Meagher still pinching himself over the magic carpet ride Lim’s Kosciuszko will now take him to, he has barely had time to leaf through the contenders’ form.

“I saw the sprint race (Group 2 BOCHK Private Banking Jockey Club Sprint) on Sunday. Lucky Sweynesse is a very good horse, so is Wellington, but he had an issue in the race (lame),” said Meagher.

“Sky Field won the Sprint last year but I haven’t really looked at the others, including the four Japanese.”

The 2021 Sprint runner-up Resistencia is one of the quartet.

According to unoffical reports, she is one of the rides Joao Moreira will take at his riding comeback. The Brazilian star jockey rode at only two Hong Kong meetings this season before returning to Brazil to treat an injured hip.