Meagher eyeing elusive Bowl, Latest Racing News - The New Paper

Meagher eyeing elusive Bowl

Australian handler bullish about his rising star Lim’s Saltoro lifting Group 3 feature

Thanks mainly to some very useful types in Lim’s Lightning and Lim’s Kosciuszko, trainer Daniel Meagher has won most Group races on offer in Singapore.

Given the dominance of his two stable stars over the last four or so years, the fact that the Silver Bowl (1,400m) has eluded the 40-year-old Australian conditioner is an oddity.

But it can be rectified on June 9 when Meagher saddles two runners in the $110,000 feature, with Lim’s Saltoro and January among the eight nominations.

Lim’s Saltoro, in particular, looks a huge winning chance to knock in what would be his first Group victory, with a race record that stands at six wins and one narrow defeat in only seven career starts.

And it may have been an unblemished record, bar his being beaten only a short head, by the unmovable force that is his stablemate Lim’s Kosciuszko, in the Group 2 EW Barker (1,400m) on April 21.

But the New Zealand-bred gelding looks very hard to beat in the Group 3 feature, with his trainer bullish about a horse that he thinks can go all the way in his four-year-old season.

“He’s a serious horse,” said Meagher, about the son of Shamexpress. “He’s going great and seems to be improving every day.

“The 1,400m of the Silver Bowl will suit him and there looks plenty of speed in the race, which will suit him, too. (Jockey) Marc (Lerner) gave him a really soft trial the other day (finished fourth to Makin on May 30) and that was just to stimulate him.

“He’s very fit and we don’t need to see his best at the trials. He came out of the trial in very good order.

“He’s like a robot, so Marc can put him anywhere in races... So he should lob in the first four, but we will leave it to Marc.”

But while Meagher would love to win his first Silver Bowl, he was quick to point out that Lim’s Saltoro has three big races in this preparation.

“The Group 1 Singapore Derby (over 1,800m on July 21) is his grand final,” he said.

“Yeah, he can win on Sunday and, hopefully, again over 1,600m in the Group 2 Stewards’ Cup on June 30 but it all leads up to the Derby.

“He’s by Shamexpress, who is a sprinting sire, but there is definitely some stamina on his dam’s side (Lamplighter). So, hopefully, his mum’s genes kick in when he gets over further.

“Look, he’s got a long way to go before he’s in the same league as the other two (Lim’s Lightning and Lim’s Kosciuszko) but he’s on the right path. Shame this place (Kranji) is closing on Oct 5.”

Of his other runner in the Silver Bowl, Meagher was happy to report that January was fit and well after pulling up lame at his most recent outing.

“He usually jars up a bit after races and his last run was no different,” he explained, after the son of Swiss Ace finished last in a Class 2 race over 1,600m on May 4.

“Our job is to get him back and I’m really happy with how he is going. He’s smart on his day... if (jockey) Simon Kok can give him a good run in transit, he can play a part for sure.”

Fans of Lim’s Kosciuszko will be happy to know that the winner of the 2022 Singapore Derby is eyeing a return to racing on July 28, to defend the Group 1 Lion City Cup (1,200m).

“He would race tomorrow if he could,” said Meagher, about the two-time (2022 and 2023) Singapore Horse of the Year.

“He doesn’t like time off, but we will run him fresh into the Lion City Cup.

“Then two weeks into the Group 1 Raffles Cup (1,600m) on Aug 11, the Group 1 Queen Elizabeth Cup (1,800m) on Sept 7 and the Group 1 Singapore Gold Cup (2,000m) on Oct 5.

“Only four more runs!”