Lim’s Smythe is a smart sort, Latest Racing News - The New Paper

Lim’s Smythe is a smart sort

Singapore Derby not his mission any more, but $107,000 buy can still win other races

Daniel Meagher had a blueprint in mind when he bought a Saxon Warrior colt at the New Zealand Ready To Run in November 2022.

In 2019, the Australian trainer came home from the same Karaka two-year-old sale with the best horse he has put a bridle on – Lim’s Kosciuszko.

The son of Kermadec has thus far given Meagher seven of his 11 Group 1 silverware, including the Singapore Derby (1,800m) on July 17, 2022.

It was not only Meagher’s breakthrough in the four-year-old classic, but a first for the famous Victorian racing family.

Father John tried many times during his 12 years at Kranji, but the Singapore Derby was one of the rare local features that eluded the Melbourne Cup-winning trainer.

So, when Meagher spotted the two-year-old by 2000 Guineas winner Saxon Warrior at the New Zealand breeze-ups four months off the family milestone, he could think of only one race – the Derby.

Knocked down for NZ$130,000 (S$107,000), he was later named Lim’s Smythe, but he certainly has not set the world on fire as Lim’s Kosciuszko did – unbeaten at first eight starts – at his first few runs.

Lim’s Smythe finally repaid a chunk of his investment with a first win in the $20,000 Open Maiden race (1,400m) on March 2.

While he may not have beaten Kranji’s finest, Meagher still liked the sit-and-sprint win, albeit it came with a bittersweet taste.

Meagher will not get to know if that whiff of another Derby winner was right on the money.

“I liked his staying bloodlines. I bought him as a Derby horse, and paid a bit of money for him,” said Meagher. “But that was before they announced racing was closing.”

While those 2025 Derby plans are gone with Singapore racing ending on Oct 5, wondering what could have been stings even more.

Lim’s Stable rider Marc Lerner was excited with the win, but at the same time despondent about the little time left to tap that potential.

“He’s a horse who needs more time. He’ll be a better horse for next year – in six to 12 months,” said the French jockey.

“I work him a lot in the morning. He has progressed mentally.

“The pace was too hot today. I didn’t want him to be up too close or he’d be in trouble.

“I found myself a spot further than I wanted, but he was travelling better. He won a nice race.”

Three pairs back at first, then seventh as stablemate Lim’s Sinai (Koh Teck Huat) rolled along in the lead, Lim’s Smythe was too good when he was set alight.

He was the first pin of a treble for Team Lim’s-Meagher-Lerner, with Lim’s Saltoro and Lim’s Bestbreaker the other victors.

Silver Warrior (Bruno Queiroz) tried to pinch the race at the 200m, but had no answer to the even-money favourite’s superior acceleration, beaten one length in second.

The run of the race had to be the other placegetter Spieth Heroine. After losing ground while switching out wide to find daylight, she still rattled home for third place another 3/4 lengths away.

A probe into Iskandar Rosman’s handling of the filly will be held on March 5. In contrast, Lerner’s heady ride left no room for query.

“Marc rode him well. The horse was not travelling and he came back one length,” he said.

“Marc just took him through his gears, but not from 0 to 100.

“At the top of the straight, he started to quicken really well. Credit to both horse and jockey.

“He’s still immature mentally, he needs more racing, but I really like this horse.

“It took a few runs to work him out.

“I really like him over more distance. He’s a real staying horse, he needs a mile plus.”

As future races are mapped out for Lim’s Smythe, overseas plans are off for Lim’s Kosciuszko.

The reigning Singapore Horse of the Year has run out of time to get race-fit for Dubai after a quarantine setback in Hong Kong – where he ran unplaced in December.

He will now focus on a domestic campaign geared towards back-to-back Kranji Miles on May 18.

“The Kranji Mile had always been his main aim this season and staying home gives us the best chance to have him peaking come May,” said Meagher.

Lim’s Kosciuszko was entered in the US$5 million (S$6.7 million) Group 1 Dubai Turf (1,800m) and the US$1.5 million Group 1 Al Quoz Sprint (1,200m) at the Dubai World Cup night on March 30.