Lim’s Kosciuszko wins raffles, Latest Racing News - The New Paper

Lim’s Kosciuszko wins raffles

Newly crowned Singapore Horse of the Year keeps up golden run with third G1 success

Four days after reaching the pinnacle of an already formidable racing career, Singapore superstar Lim’s Kosciuszko did not rest on his laurels - he added Saturday’s $300,000 Group 1 Raffles Cup (1,600m) to his bulging trophy cabinet.

Following his Group 1 heroics in the Singapore Derby (1,800m) and Lion City Cup (1,200m) in 2022, the Kermadec five-year-old deservedly won the gong of 2022 Singapore Horse of the Year on Tuesday.

Some doubts were cast whether he was fully screwed down for his new Group 1 assignment, even if he had already scored first-up in the Group 3 Merlion Trophy (1,200m) on Feb 4.

Some may even have surmised from trainer Daniel Meagher’s guarded pre-race Raffles Cup comments that he might just be warming up towards his main target, the $1 million Group 1 Kranji Mile (1,600m) on May 20.

But, if Lim’s Kosciuszko (Wong Chin Chuen) was not going full throttle yet, from the way he strolled away to a 2½-length win from Katak (Vlad Duric), one did not have to heed Meagher’s post-race comments to read the ominous signs.

“Look out for the Kranji Mile,” said the Australian trainer.

“I really thought he would need the run today. Maybe I was wrong.

“He had only one trial coming into today’s race. I actually told Danny Beasley that this horse is just getting better and better.

“The Hong Kong trip made him a proper horse.”

Lim’s Kosciuszko has taken all before him on home soil, but in a raid in the Group 1 Longines Hong Kong Sprint (1,200m) in December, he floundered up the gruelling Sha Tin straight.

Meagher humbly recognised that the Lim’s Stable galloper, who is named after Australia’s highest mountain, might not have been quite ready for the global stage.

To his credit, he put that blemish aside – and pressed the reset button to focus on the riches at home. The result is a two-from-two, and at Group level for good measure.

He did admit to some butterflies about the top-notch opposition Lim’s Kosciuszko was up against, namely the Ricardo Le Grange pair of Katak and Hongkong Great.

But, as much as South African triple-Group 3 winner Katak lost no admirers for his valiant effort to peg Lim’s Kosciuszko ($9) inside the last 300m, Singapore Gold Cup winner Hongkong Great (Ronnie Stewart) fell by the wayside.

It was clear the Chilean-bred was in trouble when he was unable to cross to the fence down the backstraight, as he did at his gallant last-start second. He eventually faded to finish last.

Outsider Sacred Croix (Benny Woodworth) popped up again for another place cheque after picking his way to a closing third another neck away. The winning time was 1min 33.68sec for the 1,600m on the short course.

“I did feel a bit of pressure coming into the race. But he had a beautiful run throughout,” said Meagher, in reference to the ground-saving run Lim’s Kosciuszko enjoyed after bouncing out from barrier No. 2.

“CC Wong rode him an absolute treat as well.”

From Lim’s Kosciuszko remarkable haul of 13 wins from 16 starts, the Malaysian jockey had a hand in four from only five pairings, amazingly for two Group 1 and one Group 3 successes.

Somehow, Wong initially landed into the saddle after regular partner Beasley either pulled the wrong rein or could not make the weight. But, since the Australian jockey exited Singapore in December, Wong has proven an apt No. 1 rider for “Kosi”, as he is affectionately called by Meagher.

“There’s no doubt he’s a very good horse,” said Wong. “He’s not the complete version. Everything that we want from him, he delivers.

“He’s the best horse in Singapore and there will be more feature races coming up for him for sure.

“He’s always had a high cruising speed. Whether it’s over 12 (1,200m) or 16 (1,600m), he gives you the same finish and response.

“That’s his special weapon.”

Saturday's Singapore Results:  PDF icon satres26.pdf