Only local horses for deferred Kranji Mile

Hong Kong's Southern Legend romping to back-to-back Kranji Mile success last year. His bid for a hat-trick was dashed as this year's race, now postponed, will be limited to only Singapore-based horses.
Hong Kong's Southern Legend romping to back-to-back Kranji Mile success last year. His bid for a hat-trick was dashed as this year's race, now postponed, will be limited to only Singapore-based horses.PHOTO: SINGAPORE TURF CLUB

With the Covid-19 circuit-breaker measures extended to June 1, the Singapore Turf Club (STC) will reschedule the $1.5 million Kranji Mile and the $800,000 Lion City Cup to a later date.

The two Kranji feature races - over 1,600m and 1,200m respectively - were slated for May 23.

The Kranji Mile will be closed to international participation. Only Singapore-based horses are eligible for the race.

"The measures are in line with the Ministry of Health's advisory on 'Strong National Push to Stem Spread of Covid-19'," said the STC.

Earlier, the $1 million Group 1 Singapore Derby (1,800m) scheduled for April 18 was also postponed.

The Lion City Cup is the marquee domestic Group 1 sprint, after the discontinuation of the $1 million International Group 1 KrisFlyer International Sprint over the same distance in 2016.

The Kranji Mile was inaugurated as an invitational domestic Group 1 race two years ago, with the objective of becoming an International Group race, in a bid to restore international racing in Singapore.

The STC raised the prize money to $1.5 million, making it the new richest local race, overtaking the $1.35 million Singapore Gold Cup over 2,000m. The Gold Cup purse was reduced to $1 million last year.

Towards the end of last year, the Kranji Mile was accorded International Group 3 status by the Asian Racing Federation.

 

Hong Kong's Southern Legend captured the Kranji Mile the last two years and his connections were looking forward to a hat-trick.

But news of the race being restricted to Singapore horses left his trainer, Caspar Fownes, and owner, Boniface Ho, disappointed.

Said Fownes: "We wanted to have a go at the three-peat. He's a tough horse with a lot of heart. But, under the circumstances, we totally understand." The gelding won Hong Kong's Champions Mile yesterday, beating two-time Horse of the Year Beauty Generation by a short head.

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 27, 2020, with the headline 'Only local horses for deferred Kranji Mile'. Print Edition | Subscribe