Golden Horseshoe winner’s bid to fit back in

Lim's Lightning

By Michael Lee, Singapore Turf Club

The $85,000 Class 2 race over 1200m on Saturday will see a Group-winning horse pop back up on a Kranji racecard after nearly two years – Lim’s Lightning.

Then trained by Steven Burridge, the 2018 Group 2 Aushorse Golden Horseshoe (1200m) winner was exported to Australia even after running a creditable third to Top Knight in the Group 1 Singapore Guineas (1600m) at his farewell Kranji run in May 2019.

The Australian venture in two states, Queensland (trained by Matthew Dunn) and Victoria (trained by Chris Meagher), did not yield the results connections were hoping for in eight starts. A solitary win in a BM78 race at Werribee on May 7, 2020 did little to dispel that sinking feeling the relocation had not gone to plan.

Lim’s Lightning will try and relive his heyday at Kranji, like at this Group 2 Aushorse Golden Horseshoe (1200m) win in 2018.

Singapore’s multiple-champion owner Lim’s Stable then decided to go back to square one with their former juvenile champion: Bring him back to Kranji in the hope it will reignite the old engine that propelled him to four wins on home soil.

Daniel Meagher, who prepares the bulk of the Lims’ squad, was tasked with the mission. A first performance appraisal is due this Saturday.

Noted for his patience, the Australian handler made sure Lim’s Lightning reached a decent fitness level before tossing him back into the Kranji arena. Five barrier trials were used to knock him back into the desired shape.

“He’s pleased me in his trackwork. Danny Beasley trialled him and my apprentice Fahmi Rosman rides him every day, he’s taken good care of him, and the horse was happy,” said Meagher who took over Lim’s Lightning from his Mornington-based elder brother Chris at the end of last year.

“We saw improvement after each trial.”

Even then, Meagher is not expecting to see sparks flying from the five-year-old son of Lope De Vega from the get-go, but hopes it won’t take too long before he does.

“He’s fit enough to run. Whatever he does, he will improve from that run,” he said.

“While he had five barrier trials, he hasn’t raced for so long, but he’s getting good conditions for that comeback race, 50kgs and a very good jockey in CC (Chin Chuen) Wong. It’s a great starting point.

“Even though he’s never raced on Polytrack, I was not really waiting for turf racing to be back this week. I was actually looking at the Class 3 race on 1200m Poly (won by Kharisma) last week, but this race will suit him better.

“I was a bit disappointed he drew the carpark (14), though. It’ll be tricky from there, but I’ve got a good jockey who can work it out, and hopefully can ride the horse where he is happy.”

“Happy” is an oft-repeated word from Meagher when emphasizing about his first priority for Lim’s Lightning, more so when his Australian stint has not brought on the smiles.

“He is a high-quality horse but unfortunately he was disappointing in Australia. He won one race in Australia with (Noel) Callow, but Werribee is not the flashiest track to win a race,” said Meagher.

“No doubt, he is blessed with a lot of talent, but it was important he had the conditioning in those trials to make sure he goes well again, and to get him back in a happy place.

“I just concentrated on getting him to a pretty solid fitness level so he can come of that race and recover from a good experience.

“This Saturday’s race is not his goal; we’re going to the races with no pressure. It’s more to get him back into the groove, and hopefully he can then get up a few grades as he’s a very good horse.”

Author: iRace