Lim’s Lightning, this year’s two-year-old (before August 1) standout, and Bold Thruster, the black machine that has captured the imagination of all and sundry – even after his last-start defeat to another rising star, four-year-old grey Zac Kasa – have been dodging each other up to now.
But they will finally go head-to-head for the first time this Friday, and in a feature race for good measure, the $200,000 Group 3 Saas Fee Stakes (1200m).
Lim’s Lightning (x Lope De Vega) is a little more experienced handling the high pressure of such elite races, having already won at Group 2 level – the Aushorse Golden Horseshoe (1200m) – while Bold Thruster (x Turffontein) has yet to run in one.
But Lim’s Lightning’s trainer Steven Burridge is not sure that will give his ward an edge. The way the Bold Thruster claimed three races in a row from Restricted Maiden to Class 3 level, by aggregate margins of 14 lengths, was a clear sign he was a horse heading for bigger and better things.
Not to mention that Lim’s Lightning (a four-time winner) is also giving Shane Baertschiger’s boom three-year-old 1.5kgs. Lim’s Lightning carries 56kgs while Bold Thruster is on 54.5kgs, a weight that Baertschiger’s No 1 jockey John Powell still cannot make, hence Barend Vorster - his winning partner at his three wins given the low weights he carried then - stays on again.
But Burridge remained hopeful the Lim’s Stable-owned galloper can still rise to the occasion in a Saas Fee Stakes billed by many as a two-horse race.
“It’s going to be a good race. Those two had to meet some time,” said Burridge.
“Both horses have done well and there is good prizemoney on offer. Lim’s Lightning ran two weeks ago and won a nice race (Class 3 race over 1200m on turf).
“He’s pulled up well. He’s done well and has eaten up good.
“But he’s giving one-and-a-half kilos to Bold Thruster, which may make things harder for him.
“We’ll see who is the best horse on Friday.”
Burridge will then press on towards the Singapore Three-Year-Old Challenge with Lim’s Lightning, who will be ridden by leading apprentice jockey Troy See on Friday. The Singaporean rider (who has forged a successful relationship with the powerful Lim’s Stable of late) was aboard at one of his four wins – at his first race as a three-year-old.
“Next year, he’s going for the 3YO series. This race will give me an idea where he stands,” said the Australian handler.
Burridge had three entries originally in the Saas Fee Stakes, but will end up with only two, the other one being Lim’s Mystery, a More Than Ready three-year-old who ran unplaced on debut two weeks ago. Burridge is leaving Mach at the stables.
“I entered Mach, but he is not running. He just ran on Friday (second to Siam Vipasiri),” he said.
“It’s a bit quick for him to come back. He will need an extra week to get over the last race.
“As for Lim’s Mystery, he will need the race experience. My apprentice Simon Kok (Wei Hoong) will ride him.”