Treble Celebrations At Kranji

Lim's Saltoro is one for notebook

With eyes on bigger prizes in the coming months with stable star Lim’s Kosciuszko, the triumvirate of jockey Marc Lerner, owner Lim Siah Mong and trainer Daniel Meagher hit top form at Kranji on Saturday with a treble of wins.

Lim’s Saltoro (Marc Lerner) fends off Pacific MV (Vlad Duric) to score (Pic – STC)

Lim’s Smythe got the ball rolling after he secured his maiden win in the SG$20,000 Open Maiden race over 1400m, before Lim’s Saltoro and Lim’s Bestbreaker completed the hat-trick of wins in the SG$50,000 Class 4 Division 1 race and SG$50,000 Class 4 race respectively.

The most noteworthy win among them came from Lim’s Saltoro, who kept his unbeaten streak intact after he carried Lim’s Stable’s famous dark blue and yellow star silks to victory first-up after four months of break.

As expected, the four-year-old son of Shamexpress had plenty of support on the back of three wins from as many starts and started as the SG$7 favourite in a solid Class 4 field.

Upon jumping fairly from barrier six, Lerner took luck out of the equation by pushing Lim’s Saltoro hard to settle on the pace, albeit they were caught punching the breeze while sandwiched between Southern Speed (Manoel Nunes) and Pacific Charm (Koh Teck Huat) on the outside in an early three-horse speed battle.

Turning for home, the favourite kicked clear to put a length on the other on-pace runners, but Pacific MV, who had a nice trail handy throughout for jockey Vlad Duric, made his challenge with a furlong to go.

While he was never headed and eventually won by a neck rather comfortably, Lim’s Saltoro had to dig deep to hold off a spirited Pacific MV to the wire with a gamed King Zoustar (Bruno Queiroz) another one-and-three-quarter lengths back in third.

The winning time was 1 min 10.78secs for the 1200m on the Polytrack. Lim’s Saltoro’s fourth win took his prizemoney to over SG$100,000 for the Lim’s Stable.

Meagher was quick to point out the neck margin belied the tenacity of that win and thought Lim’s Saltoro will be a major player in the upcoming feature races.

“Good horse and tough win,” said Meagher, who now sits second on the trainers’ log on 12 wins, nine less than reigning champion trainer Jason Ong.

“It was only by a neck but that was a very good win, to have that pressure first-up and win like he did.

“Vlad said after the race that he thought his horse (Pacific MV) had us beat four times in the straight but he (Lim’s Saltoro) kept kicking. He’s a very good horse.

“I think he really wants 1400m and will settle better on the turf but we had to race on the pace on the Polytrack to stay out of trouble and avoid the kickback.

“So he was out of his comfort zone today but he showed good old-fashioned intestinal fortitude to win. If we keep him right, he will win the Group races.

“We will set him for the four-year-old races starting with the Gr3 Silver Bowl (1400m) and I reckon with his demeanour and attitude, the 1800m of the (Singapore) Derby is in his sights.”

Opened to four-year-olds, the Silver Bowl will be run on 9 June and the Gr1 Singapore Derby will be held on 21 July.

Lerner agreed with Meagher that the win was better than the margin in the book and the Singapore Derby would be a fitting four-year-old finale for a horse he has plenty of praise for.

“That was impressive,” said the French jockey, who sits third on the jockeys’ premiership with 14 wins for the season.

“It was all class to do that after a long break for him (Lim’s Saltoro) and he still has improvement.

“A lot of things were against us today. We knew the pressure would be on and I rode him like he was the best horse in the race.

“He won on ability today but will improve when I can settle him in races and chase. He’s not an easy horse to ride and train, he needs a routine, but I think he will get over more distance for sure.

“Daniel will set him for the Derby and that will be his finale.”

Of the treble of wins for Meagher and Lim’s Stable, Lerner was happy to be in a good environment that was producing results.

“It was a long day but a super one and I’m happy for Dan and Mr Lim,” he continued.

“Dan gives you confidence and I think that’s important and there is trust on both sides. The team (of horses) is getting smaller, but they all come to the races with winning chances.

“You saw the results from three wins today and that was a team effort.”

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