Trelawney Stud bred Singapore Horse of the Year Lim’s Kosciuszko (Kermadec) won his second consecutive Raffles Cup in Kranji on Saturday to take his record to 16 wins from 19 starts.
Trainer Daniel Meagher also won his third Raffles Cup, which equalled his father’s – ex-Kranji trainer John Meagher – haul of three victories in the iconic feature race.
The only concern was the wide barrier 11 from which Lim’s Kosciuszko jumped from, but any doubts that the gate may cause issues were quickly dispelled when jockey jockey Wong Chin Chuen had the six-year-old son of Kermadec handy with cover.
Katak was the first to make his move in the straight after he took the lead at the 400m, but Wong had Lim’s Kosciuszko on his back when he loomed large at the 300m.
The race was over in a blink of an eye after Wong gave Lim’s Kosciuszko a crack or two at the 250m and, while pushed out to the wire, the win was once again an easy watch for the favourite’s backers.
The official margin was one-and-a-quarter lengths over another Lim’s Stable-owned-gelding, Invincible Tycoon – who was impressive over the final two furlongs – with Mr Malek (NZ) (Swiss Ace) doing his best work late to run another neck away in third.
The winning time was 1 min 33.81secs – only 0.2 seconds outside of the 1600m record over the Short Course set in 2013 – the S$300,000 race took his prizemoney to over S$1.8million.
An emotional Meagher was full of praise for Wong and his hardworking staff after the stable star also won the “best-groomed horse” award.
“I honestly didn’t give him any instructions,” said Meagher of the pre-race tactics to Wong.
“He (Wong) knows what to do and it was just a brilliant ride once again.
“For sure, they (the staff) did a great job and so, big thanks to them again.
“Dad won it three times, so to win it three times, it’s very emotional and I’m very proud to equal Dad’s record.”
Meagher Snr won the now first Leg of the Singapore Triple Crown series with Mayo’s Music, Lim’s Classic and Lim’s Objective in 2004, 2006 and 2007 respectively, while his son first bagged the Raffles Cup with Lim’s Lightning two years ago before winning it again with Lim’s Kosciuszko in the first edition of this race ran in March.
“It was Dad’s favourite race,” he said.
“I don’t know why but he set horses for this race (Raffles Cup) more than any other, so when I came up here on my own (as a trainer), dad said it would be great if you can win a Raffles Cup.
“I won one, I won two, but this is my biggest achievement and the biggest thrill. It’s bloody special.”
A calm and collected Wong was in awe of how good Lim’s Kosciuszko was when quizzed by racing presenter Scott Bailey after the race.
“Today, you saw the way he went was as good as he has ever did,” said Wong, who rode a double on the day.
“And from gate 11, it proves even more that the horse has so much ability himself and the confidence level is very high. He just went very good today.
“This horse knows what to do when he comes into the straight. When we get him out to daylight, he knows when best to go.
“Today, I just rode a bit more patiently because if I hit the front too soon, he could start to ease up.”
Regarding his next assignment – the Queen Elizabeth Cup over 1800m – Wong was confident he will be the horse to beat again.
“100%. You can see from this horse now that he races well underneath the jockey and I think he will stay the trip.”
The QEII Cup and the Singapore Gold Cup (2000m) are the second and third Leg of the Singapore Triple Crown series. They will be run on October 14 and November 11 respectively. -STC