By Michael Lee, Singapore Turf Club
It was probably more tradesmanlike than anticipated, but hot favourite Lim’s Kosciuszko still kept his unbeaten record intact with a third consecutive win in as many starts on Saturday.
Graduating to open company in the $50,000 Cash Luck 2013 Stakes, a Class 4 Division 2 race over 1200m after two wins in Restricted Maiden and Novice company (also over six furlongs), the Kermadec three-year-old was widely expected to score again nonetheless, as reflected by his ultra-short odds of $6, but Hotshots Slam (Krisna Thangamani) certainly gave his backers and trainer Daniel Meagher a few jittery moments inside the last furlong.
The lamplighter from the getaway, Hotshots Slam, who had Lim’s Kosciuszko on his girth the whole way, put up a surprisingly gallant dogfight when the hotpot collared him shortly after straightening, not forgetting the fast-closing Wawasan (A’Isisuhairi Kasim), who was also proving to be another thorn in the side on the rails.
Still, many thought Hotshots Slam, a weakening ninth against inferior cattle last time out, would quickly blend into the background once headed, but Shane Baertschiger’s game sprinter would not cower in defeat as he seemed to be picking himself off the canvas.
But when Danny Beasley finally went into overdrive with the persuader, favourite backers could breathe better as Meagher’s rising star finally edged clear to get the better of Hotshots Slam by half-a-length.
Wild Bee (Juan Paul van der Merwe) finished third another length away, just beating Wawasan into fourth place by a head. The winning time was 1min 9.63secs for the 1200m on the Short Course.
Meagher conceded the win might not have been as dominant as envisaged, but the Australian handler said it was still full of merit considering Lim’s Kosciuszko was still in the early stages of his craft as a racehorse.
“I know he beat an average field today, but he still ran good time,” he said.
“He beat seasoned good older horses for the first time, which is never easy to do for a three-year-old.
“It’s only after he takes a break after the 3YO races that he will get a chance to grow and develop further. He will next run in that Singapore Three-Year-Old Sprint (1200m) on June 27.
“I still think he’s got further improvement in him. Today’s win might not have looked pretty, but it was still a good effort.
“Don’t forget he had an economical run at his first two runs and he then got going. Today he sat off the leader to improve past him in the straight, but Danny told me he was having a good look, and when he asked him to quicken, he had another look.
“He had a good blow, he’s still learning.”
With that third success, Lim’s Kosciuszko has now made around $110,000 in prizemoney for the Lim’s Stable, with obviously the promise of more to come if he keeps going on such an upward curve.
One race earlier in the $50,000 War Affair 2014 Stakes, a Class 4 race over the Polytrack 1700m, the same Meagher-Beasley-Lim’s Stable combination took top honours as well with another up-and-comer in Argentinian four-year-old Saturno Spring.
The son of Greenspring was recording back-to-back wins two weeks after his Kranji maiden win in another Polytrack race but over the mile, also posted by racing handy.
This time, Caribbean Lady (Marc Lerner) was the one who had Saturno Spring breathing down her neck for most of the way. Hideyuki Takaoka’s mare tried to lift when Meagher’s ward loomed upsides, but soon capitulated.
Tangible (Oscar Chavez), a former Hong Kong-based South African-bred who punched the breeze three wide throughout, boxed on like a dour stayer, but could only come within half-a-length to take second place, a head from Mustengo (Hakim Kamaruddin). The winning time was 1min 44.49secs for the 1700m on the Polytrack.
After Saturno Spring got up again, Meagher could afford to think about raising the bar towards loftier endeavours.
“It was another good ride from Danny today. The horse carried 2 ½ kilos more than at his last win (56 versus 53.5kgs), and he wants further,” said Meagher.
“He’s won twice on Polytrack now but he goes well on grass too. If his ratings go high enough, he might be a Derby horse. He will improve again off today’s run.”
Saturno Spring has taken his stakes earnings a tick over the $60,000 mark for the Lim’s Stable with that second win.