By Michael Lee, Singapore Turf Club
Mr Lim Siah Mong will definitely not have any problem pronouncing the name of his debut winner Lim’s Kosciuszko from now on.
When the Kermadec three-year-old rallied under Danny Beasley’s urgings to stave the fast-improving Elliot Ness (Vlad Duric) off at the 300m of the $75,000 Restricted Maiden race over 1200m on Saturday, Singapore’s multiple-champion owner must have shouted the horse’s name hoarse all the way to the line.
Repeat after us: “Koz-ee-os-koh”.
Yes, the foreign-sounding name can be a mouthful, but most Australians can rattle off the tongue-twister given it is Australia’s highest mountain (at 2,228 metres), which itself was named by a patriotic Polish explorer (name just as challenging for the uninitiated) after a Polish freedom fighter.
More pointedly, it happens to also be a familiar name to Australian racing fans these days.
In finding an answer to The Everest, Australia’s richest race and richest turf race in the world at A$14 million, Racing New South Wales created the world’s richest country race last year, coming up with the clever name of The Kosciuszko, the Roof of Australia all right.
Trainer Daniel Meagher had a similar flashbulb moment when asked to find a name to Lim’s Stable’s first Kermadec (and first progeny by the Chris Waller-trained Doncaster winner at Kranji), albeit not in the same geography of world summits breath.
It was more about good old alphabet.
“In case you haven’t noticed, Mr Lim likes to name his horses by taking the first letter of the sire. For example, Lim’s Cruiser’s sire is Casino Prince, Lim’s Unique’s sire is Uncle Mo, so on and so forth,” said Meagher who prepares the bulk of the horses raced by the Dester beer boss.
“When he told me he had not found a name yet for this one, I told him what about ‘Kosciuszko’? He looked blankly at me and said ‘Ko-what’?
“He still told me to go ahead with the registration, even if he struggled to get the name right, but the next day he told me he had practised and could pronounce it all right. I’m sure it’s even better now!”
Naming trivia aside, Meagher revealed he had all along harboured a silent hope Lim’s Kosciuszko could climb through his grades at Kranji, falling short of getting too corny by saying “to the top”.
“He’s a little professional Mick Dittman bought from the New Zealand trials. He won a trial there, I knew he was ready when he came here,” said the Australian handler.
“The filly who ran third in that trial went on to win the New Zealand 1000 Guineas, Kahma Lass for the Te Akau Stable.
“He (Lim’s Kosciuszko) also ran two nice trials here. I really think he’s a smart horse but he’s still learning.
“When Mr Lim told me he had one for me, we watched the trials together and I said thank you very much. He’s a really nice horse, and it’s a great result for Mr Lim.”
Lim’s Kosciuszko defeated Elliot Ness by three parts of a length with Amazing Breeze (Tengku Rehaizat) third a gap of two and a half lengths away. The winning time was 1min 9.49secs for the 1200m on the Short Course.
Beasley said the original plan when the lids flew open was to play it by ear with the $100 chance, but as the speed sorted itself out in the first furlong, the leading spot was too inviting to ignore.
“I thought Louis (Philippe Beuzelin on Skylight) would lead, but he didn’t. Vlad was quicker (on Elliot Ness), but my horse wanted to box-seat, and I rolled through with it,” said the Australian rider.
“When he hit the front in the straight, he had a bit of a think and didn’t quite know how to get going. But once Vlad’s horse came along, he stuck his ears back and won a nice race.
“He’s a very nice horse but there’s still a lot of improvement to come out of him. He’s still very raw.
“From Day 1, he showed already he had potential. All credit to Mick Dittman who got him from the New Zealand trials.
“Dan was lucky to get such a good horse to train and I’m lucky to be the one to win on him today. He’ll become a good horse going forward.”
And thanks to a cheeky nod to a mountain and a country race in Australia, he will give Singaporeans, not just Mr Lim, a chance to polish up on their Polish!