Horse Racing
All systems go for Meagher in Kranji Mile

19/05/2022 19:36

Trainer Daniel Meagher will be hoping for Lim’s Lightning to strike back as an all-star cast of 16 gallopers line up in the G3 Kranji Mile (1600m) at Kranji Racecourse on Saturday (21 May).

Meagher’s stable star, and Singapore’s highest-rated galloper, Lim’s Lightning took all before him in six of his seven starts last year, with only the time-honoured Kranji Mile as the race to escape his grasp.

The once-forgotten former juvenile champion (when then prepared by trainer Steven Burridge) left Singapore to continue his career in Australia, where he performed below-par and subsequently returned to Kranji in December, 2020.

Rejuvenation followed as Lim’s Lightning went unbeaten in two starts over 1200m, which included a first Group 1 victory for Meagher as a trainer in his own right in the Lion City Cup, prior to the Kranji Mile.

However, it was not meant to be for Lim’s Lightning in the 2021 renewal, as he was collared in the shadows of the post in a three-way tussle after doing all the hard work on-pace in what was a true run race.

Thereafter, Lim’s Lightning never looked back, posting two successive Kranji Stakes A wins over 1400m, before two-straight Group 1 victories in the Raffles Cup (1600m) and the Singapore Gold Cup (2000m), respectively.

Not seen for five months after his Gold Cup triumph, six-year-old Lim’s Lightning resumed 21 days ago in the Kranji Mile lead up race, a Class 1 1400m Handicap, holding sixth position throughout and beaten 4 lengths – a fair effort given the time away and no doubt improvement to come from the reigning Horse of the Year, who is second-up this week.

Finishing runner-up on that occasion was Meagher’s four-year-old revelation Lim’s Kosciuszko – the son of Kermadec’s winning streak of eight-from-eight coming to an end by just three quarters of a length after doing all the hard work on-pace in a fast run race.

With Meagher’s go-to jockey Daniel Beasley opting to ride the thriving up-and-comer, all signs point towards a big showing from Lim’s Kosciuszko.

Finishing down the track in the Class 1, but with excuses in running, was South African handler Ricardo Le Grange’s highly-spruiked South Africa import Katak.

The second highest-rated horse in the Kranji Mile, Katak has flourished this year by winning two of his three starts after arriving unbeaten from five starts in South Africa.

His last-start failure can be forgotten as he pulled up with cuts on both his hind legs after racing wide throughout. The manner in which he has since won a barrier trial, with leading jockey Manoel Nunes in the saddle, who rides race day, suggests Katak has overcome those post-race issues and is primed for big improvement.

Perhaps the run of race in the prelude event was last year’s Mile victor Minister. Yet to find a spot in the placings in eight subsequent starts since his big-race success, Minister turned in a slashing and much-improved effort into fourth and appears to be recapturing form at an opportune time.

Talented staying five-year-old Hard Too Think was another eye-catcher in the Class 1 1400m. The Stephen Gray-trained gelding was first-up off his second place to Lim’s Lightning in the Gold Cup in November last year, finishing strongly into third, while he boasts an interesting record of three-from-three when produced second-up.