By Michael Lee – Singapore Turf Club
Most think Bold Thruster is a penalty kick in Friday’s $175,000 Group 3 JBBA Singapore Three-Year-Old Sprint (1200m), but that has not deterred other connections from having a throw at the stumps – like trainer Daniel Meagher.
To just have Lim’s Dream in the first Leg of the Singapore Three-Year-Old Challenge is almost like a dream because nine months ago, it looked more like a nightmare.
The son of Duporth contested the Group 2 Aushorse Golden Horseshoe (1200m) last year, but ran 16 from 16. He actually broke down, but luckily it wasn’t catastrophic.
Box-rest was what the vets ordered. Doubts if the ability he showed early doors would still be there were smashed soon enough.
The new Lim’s Dream has come back firing on all cylinders. Two wins from three starts, including an impressive all-the-way win in a Class 4 race over 1200m last Friday. One week later, he holds a ticket to Friday’s feature race.
That alone puts a smile on Meagher’s dial. It’s a big ‘if’ whether it will grow wider roughly around 70 seconds after the 13-horse field is sent on their way at 9.25pm on Friday, but Meagher doesn’t mind one bit being the underdog.
“He had to win really well at his last start and pull up well to be worth backing up for the 3YO Sprint – and he’s done both,” said Meagher.
“He actually won in class record. The race was coming up and his two wins from three starts have given ourselves options for that race.
“But he’s got to be 100% before he runs. I have to be happy with him in the next two days, he has to be fit and tick all the boxes between now and Friday.
“He seems to be in good order, but to be honest, he will still have to step it up against the headline act that is Bold Thruster.
“Lim’s Dream won with 52.5kgs last time and this time he’s running at level weights with Bold Thruster, who could become a very special horse.
“We can’t go past him and we will have to be on our game.”
One month ago, Meagher was not even certain Lim’s Dream would be a starter given the nature of the problem he had in the Aushorse Golden Horseshoe, but he had a good hunch he would bounce back.
“He was unlucky in the Aushorse. He broke down,” said Meagher.
“John Powell rode him that day, and he told me he took a bad step, dipped and took off on him. I think he ran 23.
“John couldn’t hold him. He was running in pain and when he came back, we found out he had a bad hind muscle injury.
“He just needed box-rest and a decent spell, which actually did him a world of good. Mr Lim (Siah Mong) has been really good to me as he lets me do what I want to do and the timing was perfect.
“It’s worked out nicely. He’s peaked at the right time, he’s eating all his feed, he’s really well.
“This will be his fourth run in seven weeks. He’s actually very fit.
“We were actually running out of time to get him ready. Then we saw that Class 4 race two weeks after he won easily with Troy See (Restricted Maiden over 1200m on March 17).
“Troy didn’t give him a gut-buster in that race and looked after him. That’s why we ran him so close to the first Leg.
“Like I said, he’s come out very good and has pulled up fantastic. You turn three only once and he’s a pretty decent three-year-old who beat older horses, albeit with 52.5kgs.”
With See suspended, Meagher has picked Callan Murray for the steering job. The South African jockey has up to now only one Kranji winner on the board, Ganassi for Meagher.
Meagher is a fan of the former South African champion apprentice jockey (2015-2016), but also liked the fact he has already had a feel of Lim’s Dream, even if it wasn’t by design.
“Callan was available. He rode his first winner for us,” said Meagher.
“He’s done a bit of trackwork for us. When he came one day, I was actually happy to put him on Lim’s Dream.
“They cantered. It was before his last run, he sat on him and there was no intention to book him then.
“It’s worked out well as he’s had a good feel of him. Callan is a good jockey.”
While the tricky draw in barrier No 10 may not help the cause of a horse who scored both his two wins by leading, Meagher said he had not thought of a battle plan yet.
“I will speak to Mr Lim and (racing manager) Mick Dittman in the next two days,” he said.
“We’ll have a Plan A and then a Plan B. Hopefully, we can stick to Plan A. He’s pretty quick, so it won’t be too different from that scenario.”