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Singapore Racing Awards 2022 crowns Lim’s Kosciuszko Singapore Horse of the Year

2022 Singapore Horse of the Year Lim's Kosciuszko. - Photo: STC
2022 Singapore Horse of the Year Lim's Kosciuszko.

Photo: STC

The Singapore Racing Awards celebrated 2022 racing season’s best at the Derby, Singapore Turf Club on Tuesday, 21 March 2023, with 13 awards given out at the gala dinner.  

Singapore Turf Club Chief Racing Officer Dayle Brown said, “We’re pleased to be able to once again host the Singapore Racing Awards ceremony in celebration of the efforts and contributions from key industry players and equine athletes.”

“Our heartiest congratulations to all the winning owners, trainers and jockeys. Our collective passion and love for the sport of horse racing continue to steer us in a new world.

“The new season will be one to look forward to, with the doubling of feature races and the re-introduction of popular race series which will further test the tenacity of our local champion horses, as well as new and talented youngsters.”

The Trelawney Stud-bred Lim’s Kosciuszko was crowned the Horse of the Year and also bagged awards in the Champion Sprinter and Champion Four-Year-Old categories.

Unbeaten at his first four runs in 2021, the Daniel Meagher-trained Lim’s Kosciuszko picked up where he left off with another four consecutive wins in 2022. He suffered three defeats before bouncing back with a first Group 1 feather in his cap, the Singapore Derby (1800m), which cemented his new status as the Champion Four-Year-Old.

Barely a month later, Lim’s Kosciuszko showed his versatility by scooping up the Group 1 Lion City Cup (1200m), that earned him the gong for the Champion Sprinter award.

Meagher was elated with the son of Kermadec’s achievement.

“I was hopeful before (the award ceremony), but to achieve what he has done, we are all very proud of him,” he said.

“He represented Singapore in Hong Kong, and even if it was disappointing then, the horse has improved and came back to win a Group 3 (Merlion Trophy) this year.

“It’s a wonderful night for the team, the owners and the two horses, and to win six awards (two awards for Lim’s Stable, three awards for Lim’s Kosciuszko and one award for Lim’s Lightning) is great. Well done to the Club for getting everybody back together at the function.”

Lim’s Kosciuszko is all primed to stamp his dominance at weight-for-age level in the S$300,000 Group 1 Raffles Cup (1600m) on Saturday.

While confidence levels in the Lim’s Kosciuszko camp were generally high, trainer Daniel Meagher tended to go into the race with cautious optimism, while keeping in mind his main target down the road.

“Sure he can win, but he’s not fully screwed down for this,” explained Meagher on Tuesday.

“The Raffles Cup is a Group 1 (race) and he will show his best but the (Group 1) Kranji Mile (on May 20) is his grand final, so we have to leave some in the tank.

“You can’t go to the well every time, so we really have to plan for peaks throughout the year.”

It is a smart strategy by the young Australian conditioner but given Lim’s Kosciuszko’s dominant win in the Merlion Trophy and a nice barrier trial last Thursday, he remains the horse to beat.

“I was really happy with his Merlion (Trophy) win but let’s be honest, he is the best horse over 1200m,” continued Meagher.

“So the mile is a different kettle of fish. I told (jockey) Jimmy (Wong Chin Chuen) to give him a very quiet trial last week (finished sixth behind Minister in trial no. 3) and I was really happy with how he (Lim’s Kosciuszko) went.

“Jimmy could have squeezed him anytime, but he (Lim’s Kosciuszko) did it easy and that suggests to me that he has matured as a horse – his demeanor has changed - and he should give Jimmy a good ride over the mile on Saturday.

“He has been beaten twice over the mile at Group level (finished 10th behind Lim’s Lightning in the Kranji Mile and second behind Relentless in the Stewards’ Cup last year) but again, I think he is a more mature horse this year.

“He took on the best horses for the first time in the Kranji Mile then and though it was disappointing, he benefitted from the experience. Relentless was in terrific form in the 4YO races so that form was good and we peaked for the Singapore Derby.

“He’s by Kermadec – breeding is not an issue - and we have won over the mile (in a Kranji Stakes A race on March 26 last year), so no excuses in that regard.

“There is improvement in him. If he wins (the Raffles Cup), it’s fantastic but I can tell you, he will be at his very best in the Kranji Mile.”

Of his opposition on Saturday, Meagher thought that trainer Ricardo Le Grange’s pair of Katak and Hongkong Great both command respect at the weight-for-age conditions and Mr Black Back is a horse to watch down in the ratings.

“Ricardo’s two (horses) are in very good form and at the conditions, they look the obvious dangers,” he said.

“But you have to remember that (trainer) Tim’s (Fitzsimmons) horse (Mr Black Back) was favourite for the (Group 1) Singapore Gold Cup (2000m) only a couple of starts back.

“And he trialled fantastic (finished first in trial no. 4 on March 3 in 58.61secs), so we have to watch him for sure.”

One horse missing from the Raffles Cup nominations was last year’s Group 1 Kranji Mile winner – Lim’s Lightning – but in good news for fans of the son of Lope De Vega, a return to racing is not far away.

“He’s going great,” said Meagher of the four-time Group 1 winner.

“Obviously he had his issues last year so we have taken our time with him; a gradual build-up.

“I’m not going to push him until he is 110%, so we might miss the Kranji Mile - it’s going to be tight but watch out for him in the (Group 1) Lion City Cup (1200m) in August.”

The Lion City Cup is the third leg of the new STC Super Sprint series and it will be run on August 27. The first two legs of the series are the Group 3 Kranji Sprint (1200m) and the Group 3 Rocket Man Sprint (1200m), which are held on June 3 and August 6 respectively.-STC