Horse racing: 2014 winner Dan Excel back to defend SIA Cup

SIA Cup candidate Cooptado is the first to arrive for 2015 SIA Cup at Singapore Turf Club, Kranji on May 2, 2015. -- PHOTO: SINGAPORE TURF CLUB 
SIA Cup candidate Cooptado is the first to arrive for 2015 SIA Cup at Singapore Turf Club, Kranji on May 2, 2015. -- PHOTO: SINGAPORE TURF CLUB 

DAN Excel, last year's winner of the $3 million SIA Cup, will be back to defend its title when the 2,000m race makes its return at the Kranji Racecourse on May 17.

The Hong Kong galloper will be joined in the Group 1 race by its predecessor as champion - Military Attack - and another HK raider, Aerovelocity, a newcomer to the event.

Europe will also be represented. France is sending two entries - last year's runner-up Smoking Sun and Free Port Lux, a Group 2 winner (Prix Hocquart) in France. English trainer Ian Williams will be saddling Sir Maximillian, recent winner of the Group 2 Meydan Sprint in Dubai.

Locally, six runners will feature in the SIA Cup. Leading the charge is Quechua, last year's Group 1 Longines Singapore Gold Cup winner, who will be joined by stablemate Johnny Guitar. The Singapore contingent also boasts two Queen Elizabeth II Cup winners, Stepitup (2015) and Wild Geese (2014), CECF Singapore Cup winner Parranda and former Dubai galloper in Cooptado, now under the care of Kranji trainer Patrick Shaw.

Quality fields also headline the $1 million KrisFlyer International Sprint (1,200m), which takes place on the same day as the SIA Cup.

They include Hong Kong's Lucky Nine, winner of the last two editions of the KrisFlyer sprint, and new addition Rich Tapestry. Representing the Middle East is Hototo, whose Bahrain trainer Fawzi Nass hopes his third time in the competition will prove a charm.

Five Singapore trotters will be running against these overseas top guns in the KrisFlyer - champion sprinter Zac Spirit, his arch-rival Emperor Max, star filly Kiwi Karma, two-time Merlion Trophy winner El Padrino and Magneto.