Lim’s Kosciuszko storms to victory in Lion City Cup

Lim's Kosciuszko (Wong Chin Chuen) sprints past King Arthur (Blake Shinn) to claim the Group 1 Lion City Cup. Photo: STC
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By Larry Foley, Singapore Turf Club

Talented sprinter Lim’s Kosciuszko scored back-to-back Group 1 wins in the $300,000 Group 1 Lion City Cup (1200m) on Sunday after a thrilling win in the Group 1 Singapore Derby (1800m) last month.

The news of his stablemate cum likely race favourite, Lim’s Lightning being scratched at the start of the feature race meeting came as a surprise to many.

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But after a shuffle of the odds, it was game on for the 15 quality horses heading to the 1200m start, with Lim’s Kosciuszko now favourite at a quote of $15.

Golden Monkey, the three-year-old sensation who just turned four, also had plenty of support and jumped at $20 while the in-form King Arthur ($25) was the only other runner to attract significant support.

The punters got it right.

After pinging the gates from barrier seven, Lim’s Kosciuszko (Wong Chin Chuen) settled nicely just off the tempo in fifth with cover. His stablemate Lim’s Dream (A’Isisuhairi Kasim) set the pace out front with Fame Star (Silvestre de Sousa) for company.

Upon turning for home, Wong peeled the New Zealand-bred five-year-old off the heels of the tiring Fame Star and at the 300m, only King Arthur (Blake Shinn) – who had taken the lead from a beautiful position one-back on the rails – looked the danger.

But while King Arthur had kicked strongly – with the grey Grand Koonta (Daniel Moor) looming some hope with a promising run in the straight – Wong had the best horse under him and with a confident ride, he had the race at his mercy by the 200m.

To his credit, King Arthur – under beautiful steer by Shinn – kept Lim’s Kosciuszko honest to the wire to finish second by just under a length to stamp his credentials as the most improved horse in Singapore.

After a slow start from a wide gate and some tough work early, second-elect Golden Monkey (Mark Zahra) still worked home late to finish another length away in third.

Grand Koonta, who was having his third crack at the Lion City Cup, was gamed to run only another head away in fourth. The winning time was 1 min 8.91 secs for the 1200m over the Short Course on yielding ground.

It was Lim’s Kosciuszko’s moment and his winning trainer Daniel Meagher was naturally in awe of what the Kermadec gelding has achieved in such a short time.

“Very special, isn’t he Scott?” said the emotional trainer to racing presenter Scott Bailey after the race.

“I’ve got a lot of people to thank. (Owner) Mr Lim (Siah Mong), (racing manager of Lim’s Stable) Mick (Dittman), and most importantly, the staff, as well as a really special mention for (jockey) Danny Beasley.

“He’s (Beasley) a massive part of this and I wouldn’t be able to do it without him.

“We work together and it’s disappointing he couldn’t ride because Lim’s Lightning was scratched but CC (Chin Chuen) has done a great job and I’m so rapt for Mr Lim and all the staff.”

What was more remarkable was the fact that Lim’s Kosciuszko was having his first start since winning the Group 1 Singapore Derby over 1800m – less than one month ago on July 17.

“He was very fit coming back from 1800m and we had a good talk and thought why don’t we just go there (Lion City Cup). Danny got off him in the trial, just a soft one and said ‘he’s flying’.

“He’s a very good horse – no one can pot him now – he’s done us proud, he’s done Singapore proud and we all should be really happy.”

(From left) owner Mr Lim Siah Mong, trainer Daniel Meagher and jockey Wong Chin Chuen proudly presents their trophy and silverwares after Lim’s Kosciuszko’s triumph. Photo: STC

And what of the jockey, who is the first emergency behind Beasley for the plum rides on some of the best horses in Singapore?

“Of course I’m very happy with my second Group 1 (win),” said Wong, who ironically won his first Group 1 in Singapore on Lim’s Lightning in the 2022 Kranji Mile with Beasley choosing to ride Lim’s Kosciuszko on that occasion.

“I think he’s the best horse in Singapore.

“I have ridden this horse a couple of times and all the credit has to go to the trainer and the one riding him every morning, Danny. They have done a very good job.

“He’s turned into a machine – with a ‘button’, you can turn him on and off.

“After he jumped out of the gate, he usually has a lot of speed, but now you can switch him off easily and I had him just behind the speed travelling beautifully.

“The key as a rider is being able to switch him off and on, so he can go 1400m too.”

So where to from here for a horse that can do almost anything?

“I don’t know,” said Meagher who has now cleaned sweep the first three Group 1 races in 2022.

“Life can be tough sometimes, so appreciate what we have and enjoy it.”

With his tenth win and two placings in 13 starts, Lim’s Kosciuszko has brought his massive earnings close to $750,000 for connections.