Meagher wins the 'Cox Plate' of Singapore racing

Oct 04, 2007

The highly-promising Lim’s Objective cut an almost perfect swathe in the Three-Year-Old Challenge but could not quite live up to top billing when he was pitted against older horses.

But those two ordinary runs in the Jumbo Jet Trophy and the Kranji Mile were quickly blanked out from memory when the O’Reilly four-year-old showed his true colours in Sunday’s $500,000 Group 1 Raffles Hotel & Resorts Cup (1800m), albeit to score a narrow win.

Trainer John Meagher, who has now trained his third Raffles Cup winner, had never lost faith in his rising star, despite the dip in form at his recent starts.

KB Soo drives home Lim's Objective on the inside from Setembro Chove (1)
“I’ve won this Cup with Mayo’s Music, Lim’s Classic and now this horse - I love the Raffles Cup! As far as I’m concerned I reckon it’s the Cox Plate of Singapore racing,” Meagher declared.
“The horse had the gun run, he’s in super condition, it was nice ground and he gave him a fantastic ride.

“Last start, well I wouldn’t say he was unlucky in the Kranji Mile, but he (KB) should have probably let him run along a bit.

“But today the ride has been perfect.”

As for future plans Meagher is tossing up a couple of options for the Lim Siah Mong-owned galloper.

“He could go for a spell or he could run in the Singapore Gold Cup.

“I’m not decided yet. If he pulls up really well then you’d have to give him a go in a race worth $1.35 million.

“Lim’s a great owner and he never doubts what I do, he questions but never doubts so we’ll see how the horse is before making any decisions on his next run.”

Ridden by regular partner Soo Khoon Beng, Lim’s Objective was quickly slotted in the gun spot from the word go. Recast (Opie Bosson), in an unusual role of leader, dictated terms in front but soon came under siege when Jade (V Sivan) parked himself alongside.

Favourite King And King (Saimee Jumaat) was among the backmarkers while Kranji Mile victor Setembro Chove (Robbie Fradd) was midfield off the fence, but running well within himself.

Swinging for home, Recast shook off Jade and went for home, but Lim’s Objective had switched out for his run and was reeling him in with every stride. Setembro Chove tried his heart out down the middle but his turn of foot just appeared more laboured than at his Mile win.

Recast put up a brave contest with Lim’s Objective before caving in, in the shadows of the post, to leave Setembro Chove to issue the last challenge. The pair lunged, but Meagher’s horse survived on the inside by a short head, with the gallant Itmaybeyou (Ronnie Stewart) third, three-quarter of a length away.

Already a winner of a Group 2 and Group 3 in two legs of the Three-Year-Old Challenge, Lim’s Objective has now deservedly added a Group 1 feather to his cap.

Incidentally he also kept the coveted Raffles Cup trophy for the second year running for Mr Lim, racing manager of the all-conquering Lim’s Stable, who won last year’s edition with longshot Lim’s Classic.

Trainer Steven Burridge was at a loss for words at King And King’s (11th) abject failure.

“I don’t know if it’s the ground, but he just hit a flat spot today. Very disappointing,” said Burridge.

Patrick Shaw was pleased with the run of Setembro Chove knowing there was just the merest of margins at the finish.

“One stride that’s all it was, he was in front one stride after the post.

“It was a great run but whether or not we’ll go to Hong Kong for the Internationals I don’t know. The ground would be a lot harder there than it is here and I don’t know if that would really suit him.”
Shaw’s other runner Mr Line (Barend Vorster) ran home well but tired over the final stages. He will now go on, as planned, for the Singapore Gold Cup a race he won last year.

“It was a great run by him, I’m very pleased at the way he went and he’ll be in the Gold Cup again as last year.”
Stewart on the third-placed Itmaybeyou was looking forward to the Gold Cup and had little doubt the Brian Dean-trained runner will get the extra distance.
“He put in a really good effort. The Cup will suit him because he’ll just bowl along and then quicken.

“This was his first time over 1800m and he handled it fine, I don’t think he’ll have any problem getting the extra 400m distance of the Cup.”

Michael Lee/Jo Adams