Camera shy Lim’s Saltoro wins Silver Bowl

Lim’s Saltoro stamped himself as the most exciting horse in Singapore when winning at Group level for the first time in Sunday’s $110,000 Group 3 Silver Bowl over 1400m at Kranji.

And the relatively easy win suggests the son of Shamexpress has a stranglehold on the next two four-year-old features: the Group 2 Stewards’ Cup over 1600m on 30 June and the Group 1 Singapore Derby over 1800m on 21 July.

Sent out the red-hot $9 favourite in the Silver Bowl, Lim’s Saltoro jumped well from barrier five with jockey Marc Lerner pushing his mount to sit on the leader’s (Aniki) flank in the small field of just seven runners.

Lim’s Saltoro fending off his rivals to win the 1400m Group 3 Silver Bowl on Sunday, picture Singapore Turf Club

Lerner was then happy to let jockey Ruan Maia make the running on Aniki out front at a decent clip, while keeping one eye on his more favoured opposition: Makin (Manoel Nunes, $20) on his immediate tail with Bestseller (Bernardo Pinheiro, $22) another slot back but ready to pounce.

Into the straight, Lerner took his time to make his move before levelling up with Aniki at the furlong post, but with jockey Daniel Moor making an inside run on Pacific Vampire and Makin looking a serious threat to his outside, it was game on for the favourite.

However, a kick by Lim’s Saltoro at the 150m put the race to bed in an instant; while Makin made a late push to keep Lerner honest to the wire, the half-length margin was an easy watch for happy connections.

Pacific Vampire was brave over the concluding stages to finish another half-a-length back in third, holding off the fast finishing Flying Nemo (Carlos Henrique) by a neck, with the winning time 1min 21.88secs for the 1400m on the Short Course.

And while Lim’s Saltoro was the ultimate professional during the race, his refusal to head into the winners’ circle showed the character that makes him a special horse.

“He’s a very exciting prospect,” said Meagher, who put his name on the Silver Bowl honour roll for the first time on Sunday.

“He’s got his traits. Look! He doesn’t want to go into the winners’ stall. But he’s a very good horse.

“He only does what he has to do. Like when he’s in front, he won’t let them pass him - unless it’s (Lim’s) Kosciuszko. And when he’s behind them, he goes past them but he waits for them.

“He’s a funny horse. Very unassuming sometimes, but he’s a very good horse and I’m looking forward to getting him over the mile (Committee’s Prize) because I think that’s what he needs.

Jockey Marc Lerner (left) and trainer Daniel Meagher (centre) with owner Mr Lim Siah Mong after Lim's Saltoro's victory, picture Singapore Turf Club

When quizzed about Lim’s Saltoro’s quirky traits by presenter Ethan Mills, Meagher again pointed out that his star was still not playing the game post-race.

“Look at him there—he doesn’t want to go into the winners’ circle,” laughed the Australian conditioner, who had a double on the day after Pacific Padrino ($11) won the $50,000 Well Done 2016 Stakes, a Class 4 race over 1200m, earlier in the day.

“He’s got a character of his own. You keep to his routine and he will always do the right thing by you.

“He’s very quiet. He just likes to do his own thing. We have to work with him a little, but just a real quality horse.

“As you can see, Marc had to jump off him, as he wouldn’t come back (into the winners’ circle). But a very good horse and we are looking forward to the next two legs.”

Would the extra distance (1600m and 1800m) of the next two four-year-old features pose any concerns?

“No, I think he wants it,” continued Meagher to Mills.

“His mother (Lamplighter) won over a long distance. Today, I think if he went another 200m they would have stuck with him but wouldn’t have passed him, I believe.”

Lerner agreed with Meagher that the next two legs were at his mercy and added that Lim’s Saltoro was improving with each win.

“He’s getting better and better,” said the Frenchman.

“You see he has his own character: he doesn’t want to come to the photo!

“He’s hard work every day but come days like this, he makes us happy. So it’s worth it.

“Everything went smooth (in the race). I was super relaxed and I had him on the long rein.

“He cannot hit the front too early. So I thought the win was pretty soft because you can see he put his ears back and was working a bit.

“Now bring on the next two legs. We are looking forward.

“He’s getting easier and easier. It’s sad this place (Kranji) is coming to an end because next year he would have had a much higher profile.

“He does everything we ask and just looks forward to the next one.”

Lim’s Saltoro’s Silver Bowl victory was his seventh win from only eight career starts and takes his prizemoney to over $270,000 for the Lim’s Stable.