The Complete Cyber Guide to Horse Racing in Malaysia and Singapore

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(Singapore Group 1)

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COOPTADO gets his first Singapore win in 2015

The first Singapore Gold Cup was run on 18 October 1924, at Farrer Park Racecourse and carried a prize of $1,600. The winner was a Javanese raider named THELASOCRETE ridden by his trainer A Heterick.

Perhaps the success of the inaugural event prompted the Singapore Turf Club to staged two Singapore Gold Cup races in 1925.

The first, run at the Spring Meeting in May, carried $3,000 in prizemoney. The winner was ALAN L, owned by Alan Loke and ridden by Jack Manning, who later became a trainer.

Inexplicably, a second Gold Cup race with $1,750 stakesmoney was held at the Autumn Meeting in October. This was won by BONNIE FRIEND with Bluey Sleigh up. The MRA racing calendar, however, recorded only Bonnie Friend as the winner of that year’s Cup.

The last Gold Cup to be held at Farrer Park was in 1932 and it was the only time that the race was run over 12 furlongs (2,414m). English-bred PUNKAWALLA exploded the myth that greys could not withstand the rigours of the tropics when he won by three lengths with Bill Irvine astride.

PUNKAWALLA nearly made it a double the following year when the Gold Cup was run for the first time at Bukit Timah. He was cruising at the 800-metre mark when his girth strap broke and was thrown off-stride. Still, he managed to finish third to ROW BOAT (W Redfearm).

During pre-war and early post-war years, Marinus van Breukelen (not the present Marinus but his grand-uncle) was a dominant force in the Gold Cup.

After winning the 1932 Gold Cup with PUNKAWALLA, he went on to saddle four more winners, FIESOLE in 1934, COOLTIPT in 1939, GRAND PRIX in 1941 and LONGCHAMPS II in 1949.

After this, three names popped up consistently in the roll-of-honour: J R "Doc" Rodgers, Rinus van Breukelen and Eddie van Breukelen. Rodgers saddled five winners between 1953, when MUBARAK (Harry McCloud) was successful, and 1962 when WATER SCOUT scored with local jockey S Khamis astride.

Rodgers achieved this feat, thanks largely to one horse - THREE RINGS. The legendary galloper was the first horse to win the Gold Cup thrice, in 1954, 1956 and 1957.

The feat was only emulated more than half a century later when the Japanese bred EL DORADO win in 2008 and 2009, and again in 2011 after missing the race through injury in 2010.

Rinus won his first Singapore Gold Cup with BEARER BOND in 1955 and his second winner, STRAIGHT CODE, created history in 1958. Straits Code was ridden by Abdul Mawi who became the first local jockey to win the premier event.

Rinus himself went into the record book as the first trainer to complete a hattrick in the series when he sent out PULAU PANGKOR (Sunny Lim) to win in 1994 and GRENADIER in 1965 and 1966.

Eddie, who won his first Gold Cup in 1963 with RESQUILLEUR, emulated Rinus’ feat when he won the Gold Cup in the years 1968 to 1970. His winners were MOONBEAM, KATONG OCEAN and INTEREST.

But the greatest trainer of them all is Ivan Allan whose record of nine winners in the Gold Cup may stand the test of time.

Allan won his first Gold Cup with FIREBAND (Des Coleman) in 1973 and saddled SAN RETTA (Terry Lucas) to win in 1976 and SAAS FEE (Noel Harris) in 1978.

SAAS FEE won his second Gold Cup in 1980 with John Murray on board and Allan went on to complete a hattrick with TAMAN SINGAPURA (Gerry Donnely) and SIAPA RAJAH (Lucas).

Three more victories followed: BIG CHIEF (Tony Cruz) in 1984, COLONIAL CHIEF (Oo Khuang Liang) in 1989 and DANZADANCER (Rick Dominguez) in 1990.

Over the years, prizemoney for the Singapore Gold Cup has risen dramatically. From $1,600 in 1924, it went up to $61,500 in 1973. The Singapore Gold Cup was sponsored for the first time in 1991 when Piaget contributed S$2000,000 of the total prizemoney of S$600,000. Piaget then increased their sponsorship to S$250,000, bringing prizemoney for the Singapore Gold Cup to S$700,000 the following year.

In 1999, the Singapore Turf Club opened the Gold Cup to overseas entries offering prizemoney of S$1 million. CARRY THE FLAG, one of the original overseas entrants, was purchased by Singapore owners and won for Dragon Stable and trainer Michael Kent.

In 2000, no overseas runner took part and victory went to Kummui’s Stable’s KIM ANGEL, trained by Melbourne Cup-winning trainer John Meagher.

History was created in 2001 when Godolphin Stable's KUTUB became the first overseas runners to win the Singapore Gold Cup. The race was sponsored by New Zealand Bloodstock and offered record prizemoney of S$1.25 million.

In 2002, the race reverted to being a domestic race.

QUECHUA became the first from Argentina to win the Gold Cup in 2014 and this was followed by COOPTADO in 2015.


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