Lim's Kosciusko wins Raffles Cup, SA’s Katak 2nd

Already an effortless Group winner in the Group 3 Merlion Trophy (1200m) on February 4 this year, Lim’s Kosciuszko went to the start of the first Group 1 race of the season as the $9 odds-on favourite.

However, with trainer Ricardo Le Grange’s pair of Katak and Hongkong Great in the field, as well as the promising Mr Black Back and Cyclone – both trained by reigning champion trainer Tim Fitzsimmons - the weight-for-age competition in the 11-horse field was strong.

Yet, all eyes were on the horse carrying the number one saddlecloth and with a confident jockey Wong Chin Chuen in the saddle, Lim’s Kosciuszko did not disappoint.

Upon jumping, Wong was happy to take the sit on Lim’s Kosciuszko behind expected leader Mr Black Back (Simon Kok Wei Hoong), with Hongkong Great (Ronnie Stewart) keeping the leader honest. Jockey Vlad Duric had Katak perfectly placed behind his stablemate Hongkong Great in the one-one spot, and the race was set for a cracking final 400m.

Both Mr Black Back and Hongkong Great unexpectedly put up the white flag upon entering the straight, it then became a race in two with Katak eager to join Lim’s Kosciuszko in the lead.

Tried as Katak might, he was no match for Lim’s Kosciuszko after the latter put on the afterburners at the 300m. In the blink of an eye, the race was over with Katak battling in the little champion’s wake over the final furlong.

The final margin of two-and-a-half lengths flattered the other runners as Lim’s Kosciuszko was eased down near the post but Katak was gallant to hold on in second place with the fast-finishing Sacred Croix (Benny Woodworth) another neck away in third.

Cyclone (Manoel Nunes) ran an eye-catching fourth a further neck away. The winning time was 1 min 33.68secs for the 1600m on the Short Course, just 0.07 seconds outside of the Course Record set by Super Ninetyseven 10 years ago.

Wong credited Lim’s Kosciuszko response over any distance as his best asset.

“There is no doubt he is a good horse,” said Wong, who closed the day with a double on the Michael Clements-trained Pacific Hero ($30) in the $50,000 Always Certain 2011 Stakes, a Class 4 race over 1200m.

“This horse is the complete version. He just does everything that we want. He is the best horse. I believe a lot of feature race (wins) are coming for him.

“He’s always got a high cruising speed, and be it over 1200m or 1600m, he still gives you the same kind of finish and response. This is the specialty of this horse and I’m going to enjoy the moment.”

Trainer Daniel Meagher, owner Mr Lim Siah Mong and jockey Wong Chin Chuen combines for their second Group win this season in the Group 1 Raffles Cup.

Winning trainer Daniel Meagher agreed with Wong that more Group races are Lim’s Kosciuszko’s for the taking, but he was still in awe of the improvement the ‘little horse’ has made.

“I was just talking to (ex-Kranji jockey) Danny Beasley and he’s right; he’s got better,” said Meagher, who took home a double courtesy of Saturno Spring ($71) after he scored in the $70,000 Debt Collector 2016 Stakes, a Kranji Stakes C race (1600m) five races earlier.

“That Hong Kong trip has really made him a proper horse.

“We had a beautiful run, he did everything right and he just got better and better.

“CC (Wong Chin Chuen) rode him beautifully and it’s great to win.”

It had been a big build-up to the race for Meagher, who was understandably relieved with the win given he has bigger fish to fry on May 20 with the Group 1 Kranji Mile (1600m) on Lim’s Kosciuszko's agenda.

“I felt a bit of pressure this week - for whatever reason – but that was good,” he said of his second Raffles Cup win after Lim’s Lightning won it two years ago.

“The Kranji Mile will be his next start and we’ll be heading there for sure.”

The Lim’s Stable star has now four Group wins to his name – three at Group 1 level - and his 13th win from 16 starts has taken his earnings past the million-dollar mark.

Singapore Turf Club 

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