By Michael Lee, Singapore Turf Club
A bit of those good old six degrees of separation went some way in landing trainer Daniel Meagher a nice debut winner at long odds on Sunday.
The horse in question is Lim’s Straight ($213) who came off a cushy run on the fence for jockey Tengku Rehaizat to go and dominate mostly unraced rivals like him in the $75,000 Mister Yeoh 2018 Stakes Restricted Maiden race over 1200m.
Meagher recounted how this new Lim’s Stable acquisition was not your typical big-money purchase from the powerful outfit.
The first time Meagher set eyes on the colt or his pedigree from the Inglis Ready To Run sale in Sydney last year, he almost walked on by to the next barn. There wasn’t much of him at 400kgs, and while he trained another progeny of Strategic Maneuver in Absolute Miracle, it wasn’t the most fashionable stallion going around.
But a casual chat with the owner-breeder would eventually lead Meagher to dip into his pocket – and he didn’t have to go too deep either.
“This six-foot-six bloke from the bush brought this horse out and as I was inspecting it, he asked me: ‘Hey mate, Danny Beasley is your assistant-trainer isn’t he?’,” recalled the Australian handler.
“I said ‘yes, that’s right’. He then said ‘I know Danny really well, he helped me a lot as a youngster when I was with Gai Waterhouse, please say hello to him for me.”
After ringing the former top Sydney jockey up to mention about that stockman-style breeder who introduced himself as Ryan Pendergast, Meagher knew he had to get the horse.
“Danny told me he knew that tall bloke and he was with Gai Waterhouse, and he was a really good horseman. He bred one of two and that one was one of them,” said Meagher.
“So, I went back to look at the horse. He was not big, but he was a neat put-together horse and had a really good action, and was so well educated.
“I rang (racing manager) Mick (Dittman) and Mr Lim and told them I had found a nice little horse for them and he won’t cost much. They laughed when I told them I paid A$20,000 for him, but Mr Lim said that was a great buy, Daniel.”
They are laughing all the way to the bank now after that debut win more than recouped their outlay with a first paycheque of around $40,000, with the promise of more to come judging from the ease of the three-year-old’s win.
Once the gaps came up upon cornering, Lim’s Straight went hard up against the rails, shooting right past the leaders towards a most authoritative 1 ¼-length win from Golden Way (A’Isisuhairi Kasim) with the fast-finishing Boundless Glory (Ruan Maia) third another three parts of a length away. The winning time was 1min 10.55secs for the 1200m on the Long Course.
“(Brother) Chris pre-trained him at home. From Day 1, he was a very professional horse and he has a great temperament,” said Meagher.
“He also trialled well, but he can be a bit of a deceptive horse. He’s not so great working alone, but he goes well with a mate, he can put up a serious gallop.
“He’s very competitive and also showed good speed, which is why he was quick out of the barriers and landed in a handy spot.
“A big thank you to Tengku Rehaizat who rode him from Day 1. That ride fell his way and he has stuck with him since, he trialled him at three of his four trials.
“He’s won for a good group of people, it’s a great result. Mr Lim (Siah Mong) invests so much in races and is positive about the races here, it’s a massive deal he won again today.”
The Lim’s Stable later brought up a double with Lim’s Bestbreaker (Simon Kok Wei Hoong, $46) for trainer Steven Burridge, aptly in the name of one of their champion horses, the $75,000 Lim’s Cruiser 2016 Stakes Restricted Maiden race over the Polytrack 1200m.
Meagher was also in a positive reflective mood about his own fortunes, especially after the long run of outs that saw him dwindle from a Top 5 to midtable spot. The yard had only two winners (Lim’s Passion and The August) since racing resumed on July 11 after the COVID-19 three-month suspension, until another Lim’s horse, Lim’s Force (also ridden by Rehaizat) snapped the barren spell last Saturday.
“It was always going to happen we would eventually win races again. It’s a different set of dynamics this year,” said the youngest son of Australian Hall of Fame trainer and former Kranji trainer John Meagher.
“We don’t have as many runners and we haven’t had much luck either, but this is encouraging for the future.”