The Malayan Racing
Association (MRA), controlling body of horse racing in Malaysia
and Singapore, became a race sponsor in 1988 when they initiated
the MRA Cup which was run at lpoh.
The MRA could not have asked for a bigger-named first winner in
COLONIAL CHIEF, who led a team of six MRA horses to the
second Hong Kong Invitation Cup (1,800m) at Sha Tin the following
January and brought honours to the MRA with a narrow victory. The
‘CHIEF’ went on to become the first equine millionaire on the
Since then, the MRA Cup is staged on rotation amongst the four
turf clubs with prizemoney of either RM250,000 or S$250,000. The
race distances vary and is decided by the club staging the race.
Colonial Chief went down third to stablemate GRAND ILLUSION
the following year but was back in the winner’s circle in the
MRA Cup in 1990 when it was run over 1,850m at Bukit Timah.
That year’s Cup was also used as qualifying race to select
two horses to the Hong Kong Invitation Cup. COLONIAL CHIEF won by
an amazing 9 1/2 lengths. In Hong Kong, the "CHIEF" ran a
courageous third despite drifting to the outside rails.
After Allan, subsequent champion trainers of the MRA have all
carved their names in the roll-of-honour.
Teh Choon Beng won the race with ULTRAMAN II in 1991
with the winner gaining sweet revenge over STARMAN, who had
a month earlier won the Singapore Gold Cup on protest, relegating
ULTRAMAN II to second place. The 1991 runner-up’s name was all
too familiar - COLONIAL CHIEF.
Malcolm Thwaites’ turn in came in 1992 when it was staged
over 1,700m at Penang. Run in heavy going, mudlark LADY ARCHER (A
John) led her rivals on a merry chase.
The 1993 MRA Cup at lpoh marked the first time that the race
was run at weight-for-age. JINGLE BELL IV’s victory that
year was made more memorable for Teh when the winner was followed home by
COURTLINE JESTER (Sam Subian) and THE SUNTAN (SY Leong) , making
it a 1-2-3 finish for Teh and owners Auric Stable.
Charles Leck had his turn in 1997 when he sent out FLINT ZEST to victory over 1,400m at Ipoh. He completed a double the
following year with EAGLE'S LANDING, when it was again
run over 1,400m - at Bukit Timah.
The 2000 MRA Cup created history. Johann van Breukelen-trained
HIGH WIRE (Darryl Bradley) and THE BIG BOPPER,
ridden by Gary Skinner and prepared by eventual champion trainer
that year Jonathan Sargent, flashed past the post together. It was
the first-ever deadheat in a classic race in the local circuit.
2004, prizemoney is increased from RM/S$250,000 to RM/S$300,000.