Class 5 in work, all class on raceday, Latest Racing News

Malaysian jockey Wong Chin Chuen is glad the undefeated Lim’s Kosciuszko does not bring his “ordinary” trackwork form to the races.

Wong rode the rising star to one of his eight wins at Kranji but, oddly enough, said that he felt “more like a Class 5 horse” at home.

There is no reason to doubt the former two-time Singapore champion apprentice jockey’s appraisal that the Kermadec four-year-old has some kind of split personality.

From Restricted Maiden level, Lim’s Kosciuszko has run rings around his rivals to now stand on the cusp of a first tilt at Group level.

“In the morning, he would not let you feel anything special. He feels more like a Class 5 horse, he’s very easy to ride,” said Wong.

“I rode him in his slow and fast work for two weeks when Danny Beasley and others in the stable became positive to Covid-19. There was a lack of riders. 

“Even when you ride him in fast work, he feels ordinary. He doesn’t give you a good feeling, but he’s simply amazing on raceday.”

Wong’s very first contact with Lim’s Kosciuszko actually came at win No. 6 in a Class 1 race (1,200m) when regular partner Beasley could not make the 50kg handicap.

“The first time I ever rode him was in that race we won,” he said.

“When he won, it was really good, nothing like what I felt later in his trackwork. He didn’t give me the same feeling.”

Blown away, Wong could only pray for another phone call from trainer Daniel Meagher should Lim’s Kosciuszko get a low weight again.

Today’s titanic clash with stablemate Lim’s Lightning and others like Katak and Hard Too Think in the $100,000 Class 1 race (1,400m) has thrown him another leg-up. 

Not quite because Lim’s Kosciuszko gets 53.5kg, but more because Meagher’s No. 1 jockey is given first refusal. 

The Australian has publicly sworn allegiance to Lim’s Lightning, but Lim’s Kosciuszko is anything but slim pickings for Wong.

It is not an arrangement cast in stone, though. Today’s mouth-watering contest has been billed as a prelude to the $1 million Group 1 Kranji Mile (1,600m) on May 21.

“If both horses are entered in the same race, I will ride one of them. It depends on Daniel which horse he will give me,” said Wong.

“Lim’s Kosciuzsko had 50kg when I won with him. This time, he carries 53.5kg, but a pull of 3½ kilos doesn’t make much difference.

“I’m not so worried. The dead weight is not so much, unlike a horse which goes from 50kg to 59kg, then it’s a lot of dead weight.”

Dead weight refers to the lead weights inserted into the saddle to top the jockey’s weight up to the allotted handicap.

Wong also seemed unfazed by barrier No. 8 in the field of 11.

“He can jump really quick. From barrier 8, he has enough gate speed to cross,” he said. 

“I’m aware Fame Star has drawn on our inside, but hopefully, my horse can get across and I don’t have to use him too much. 

“I’ll wait for Daniel’s instructions, but he can definitely go forward.”

When asked if he could split the Lim’s pair, Wong was diplomatic.

“I’ve ridden both and won on both. They are both really good horses,” said Wong, who was aboard in Lim’s Lightning surprise come-from-behind win at Kranji after a two-year hiatus.

“Lim’s Lightning can also come from behind. He has such big strides, he covers in one stride what others take in 1½ strides.”

Fourth on the jockeys’ log on 16 winners, but a whopping gap of 25 winners behind tearaway leader Manoel Nunes, Wong has four other decent bullets this afternoon: Master Player, Tigarous, Metal World and Sure Will Do.

“I’m hoping I can maintain the same form,” he said.

“From my other rides, they have all been running well at their last few races. Master Player is coming back from a break, but so far he’s been okay in his work.”

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