In less than a year’s time he will be back in the Australian training ranks but, right now, Dan Meagher is focussed on the challenge facing his star performer Lim’s Kosciuszko in Sunday’s HK$32 million Group 1 Longines Hong Kong Mile (1600m) at Sha Tin racecourse.
The Meagher family has a long and continuing history in Australian racing (amongst other distinctions, John Meagher won the 1985 Melbourne Cup with What A Nuisance), but the families equally important contribution over many years to Singapore racing will come to an end with the sad closure of that racing precinct next year with the Singapore government having directed that the last race meeting to take place there will be held on October 5, 2024.
But, while Meagher has had to keep one eye on trying to formulate future plans for his stable back in Australia, he, particularly with his adventures with a horse named Lim’s Kosciuszko, has been making merry in Singapore in the meantime, with Lim’s Kosciuszko recently rubber-stamping a stellar race record with a short-head win in the Group 1 Singapore Gold Cup when scoring by a short-head win while conceding 7kg to the runner-up.
Meagher and Lim’s Kosciuszko now are set to take on the might of Hong Kong racing, notably in the form of that precinct’s all-around champion and reigning Horse Of The Year, Golden Sixty, who will be looking to claim no less than a third win in the Hong Kong Mile after taking the race honours in 2020 and 2021.
Meagher has admitted to making mistakes when he brought Lim’s Kosciuszko over last year to contest the Hong Kong Sprint (in which he finished unplaced) … conceding that he probably overthought it … but he believes he has learnt from that experience and, while aware of the difficulty of the task at hand, he was in a positive mood after Lim’s Kosciuszko’s track gallop at Sha Tin on Tuesday morning which he found very pleasing.
Four Australian trainers, led by twelve-time Hong Kong Premiership winner John Size, who last season surpassed George Moore’s eleven Premierships and including David Hall, David Hayes and Mark Newnham, currently have permanent training licences for the season in Hong Kong … but a ‘smash and grab’ victory from the visiting Dan Meagher stable will be as popular a win ‘back home’ as it would be for any other Australian trainer.
A nice option for an Australian win, although in Meagher and Lim’s Kosciuszko’s case it would be a boilover, not just because of the intimidating presence of Golden Sixty, but because Lim’s Kosciuszko is totally unwanted in the betting with every other horse in the race, even fellow outsiders, currently priced shorter than him on the betting boards.
Whether that is undervaluing Lim’s Kosciuszko’s significant record of seventeen wins from twenty-two starts … well, we’ll find out on Sunday.
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