Lim's Lightning strikes
$42 shot takes the Lion City Cup to give trainer Meagher his first Group 1 success
When $42 chance Lim's Lightning struck gold in Saturday's $300,000 Lion City Cup, one man became very emotional.
He was seen wiping his tears. He was choked with emotion while thanking all for the win, especially his father, that he had to pause.
Well, that man was trainer Daniel Meagher and Lim's Lightning was his first Group 1 success since he set up stables at Kranji in 2016.
His only silverware thus far was the Group 3 El Dorado Classic over 2,200m in 2018.
His father, Australian Hall of Famer and Melbourne Cup-winning trainer John Meagher, won the Lion City Cup with Arenti in 2006. Daniel is the youngest of his three sons.
Ridden by comeback jockey Danny Beasley, Lim's Lightning had only two horses behind him, Rocket Star and triple Group 1 winner Top Knight after the jump. He was also trapped wide.
Fame Star, who had top apprentice jockey Simon Kok in the saddle, led in the 1,200m rich sprint, which was the first feature race of the year.
Right behind were Celavi, the only mare in the race, and Zac Kasa, who was second, third and fourth in the last three editions. The favourite Grand Koonta was next, biding his time.
Under champion jockey Vlad Duric's vigorous riding, Grand Koonta issued a strong challenge in the final 200m. Lim's Lightning straightened wide but was making progress.
While Grand Koonta was inching closer and got Fame Star with just 50m left, Lim's Lightning powered home on his outside to win by 3/4 lengths. He clocked 1min 09.14sec.
Rocket Star flew from second-last to edge out Grand Koonta by a short head for second. Fame Star had to settle for fourth, a neck away and just a nose in front of Nowyousee.
Lim's Lightning, the Champion Juvenile three years ago, has won both his starts since returning from his below-par stint in Australia.
He went into Saturday's race with a Class 2 win over 1,200m with jockey Wong Chin Chuen astride on March 20.
"It's a wonderful experience, as you can imagine. Today he looked terrific in the yard," said Meagher.
"Watching the race, I just thought he kept you happy and flowing. He was a little bit wide when he came in, and I don't know, he kind of went pretty quick. Just rapt for the whole staff and everybody back home. It hasn't sunk in yet."
Said Beasely, who resumed riding only about two months ago after being assistant trainer to Meagher for a while: "I can't say how much this means. To be back here and winning a Group 1 is what it's all about.
"We get up every morning and we work those Class 5 horses and we've got to try and win with them. They mean a lot but Group 1s are the special ones. It's just undescribable."
Beasley's last Group 1 win was also on another Lim's Stable's horse, Lim's Cruiser, in the Lion City Cup in 2017.