Lim’s Saltoro can tick Stewards’ Cup box for Meagher

Lim's Saltoro is a standout four-year-old this year.
Lim's Saltoro is a standout four-year-old this year.

By Larry Foley, STC

After he gave trainer Daniel Meagher his first Group 3 Silver Bowl (1400m) on 9 June, Lim’s Saltoro will be looking to add the $150,000 Group 2 Stewards’ Cup (1600m) to the Australian handler’s trophy cabinet on Sunday.

The Silver Bowl win was also the first Group victory for Lim’s Saltoro and although he is untested over the mile, the rising star of Singapore racing looks extremely hard to beat on the back of seven wins from merely eight starts.

The fact that it will be even tougher for his opponents this Sunday was his only loss was by a short head to stablemate and two-time Singapore Horse of the Year, Lim’s Kosciuszko in the Group 2 EW Barker Trophy (1400m) on 21 April.

The four-year-old son of Shamexpress had not missed a beat since leading home the Steven Burridge-trained Makin by half-a-length in the Silver Bowl, so he looked like the one to beat.

“I’m really happy with how he (Lim’s Saltoro) is going,” said Meagher, who will also saddle January in Sunday’s feature race.

“He had a canter to keep him ticking over this morning and (jockey) Marc (Lerner) will give him a gallop tomorrow.

“We don’t change much with this guy and why would we given his record? He likes his routine and had a similar maintenance trial to what he had before the Silver Bowl the other day (finished seventh in trial no 2 on 20 June).

“He will be having his first start over the mile but there looks to be some speed in this race, so Marc can hopefully take a sit on him.

“It’d be nice if he draws a good gate for a change and Marc can give him a breather in fourth or fifth.

“We want to win every race but also teach him (Lim’s Saltoro) how to race over longer as the (Group 1) Singapore Derby (over 1800m on 21 July) is his main aim and this is a nice stepping stone.”

That was a sentiment shared by Lerner, who has partnered Lim’s Saltoro to five of his seven wins.

“He’s maturing with every race and he should be able to take a sit on Sunday,” explained the French hoop.

“It’s his first time over the mile but he has won when we took a sit previously (in a Class 4 race over 1400m on 30 March).

“I think it’s all about timing with this horse. The way he won the Silver Bowl gave me confidence that the mile will not be a problem and it will be an ideal test going to the (Singapore) Derby.

“He’s still a handful at trackwork; he does his own thing, but definitely becoming more manageable in races with experience.”

Of Lim’s Saltoro’s opposition on Sunday, Meagher pointed to Pacific Emperor, who finished not far behind Lim’s Kosciuszko in the Group 1 Kranji Mile (1600m) on 18 May.

“You have to respect Pacific Emperor,” he said.

“We met most of the others in the Silver Bowl but he (Pacific Emperor) came off a pretty good run in the Kranji Mile (ran fifth to Lim’s Kosciuszko).

“That form at set weights will hold up against his own age group, so he’s one to watch.

“And I think Bestseller is a very good horse. He was disappointing at his last start (finished sixth in the Silver Bowl) but he’s better than that and (trainer) Ricardo (Le Grange) will have him spot-on.”

Of his other runner in the Silver Bowl, Meagher suggested January will appreciate a change of gear and improve on the back of a good trial while adding Lim’s Smythe as the one to watch in the $50,000 Class 4 race over 1600m.

“I’ve put the blinkers back on January,” said Meagher after the son of Swiss Ace finished last in the Silver Bowl.

“He did pull up a tad sore after that run but I thought his trial (finished third in trial no 2 on 20 June) the other day was good and he should improve.

“(Jockey) Ryan (Curatolo) will ride him on Sunday and the mile will be a good test for him (January) to see if he goes to the (Singapore) Derby.

“I’m also really looking forward to having Lim’s Smythe (x Saxon Warrior) back at the races after his (Group 2) Singapore Guineas placing (finished third to Ace Of Diamonds over 1600m on 18 May).

“(Jockey) Bruno (Queiroz) will ride him on Sunday and he’s (Lim’s Smythe) an exciting stayer going forward. He’s one to follow over longer for sure.”

Author: iRace