S’pore Guineas and nine features back, Latest Racing News - The New Paper

S’pore Guineas and nine features back

Singapore Turf Club releases 2023/2024 racing fixtures with four series returning

The Singapore Guineas headlines a new batch of 10 feature races making their comeback at the Singapore Turf Club (STC) in the new racing calendar from April 2023 to March 2024.

The traditional third and final leg of the Singapore Three-Year-Old Challenge over 1,600m was canned in 2021.

The first two legs – the Sprint over 1,200m and the Classic over 1,400m – were maintained and ran as standalone races.

It may be downgraded from its previous Group 1 status to Group 2 with its reintroduction on May 20, but it also effectively restores the Singapore Three-Year-Old Series in its old format.

Likewise, the Singapore Four-Year-Old Challenge also returns with the Group 3 Silver Bowl (1,400m) on June 11 as the first instalment.

This leads up to the Group 2 Stewards’ Cup (1,600m) and Group 1 Singapore Derby (1,800m).

However, there will be no bonus for either two-legged or clean-sweep winners – unlike for the Singapore Triple Crown series and a newly-created spin-off of the Singapore Sprint series, the Super Sprint series.

The three pins of the Triple Crown – the Raffles Cup (1,600m), Queen Elizabeth II Cup (1,800m) and Singapore Gold Cup (2,000m) – are Group 1 events which have stayed right through during Covid-19.

But the order was reshuffled and the bonus scheme was scrapped.

It has been reinstated to the tune of $100,000 for any Triple Crown winner, a feat which has yet to be achieved in the rich history of Singapore racing.

It is interesting to note that by tacking the Raffles Cup back onto the series on Sept 23, there will be two runnings of the race in a year.

It will be six months after the one already slated in the January-March 2023 segment, which was already scheduled in the 2022 fixtures.

The offbeat situation arose from a “spillover effect” caused by the pandemic-induced makeover to the racing calendar.

Besides the Raffles Cup, the Group 3 Merlion Trophy (1,200m) will be run on Feb 4, and will be “rerun” on Oct 23.

The same $100,000 bonus will apply to the Super Sprint series, comprising two comeback 1,200m races – the Group 3 Kranji Sprint on June 3 and Group 3 Rocket Man Sprint on Aug 6.

The stalwart Group 1 Lion City Cup (1,200m) is on Aug 27.

The other feature races popping back are the Group 2 EW Barker Trophy (1,400m) on April 22 and the five Group 3 events – the Singapore Golden Horseshoe (1,200m) on July 23, Colonial Chief Stakes (1,700m) on Dec 2, New Year Cup (1,200m) on Jan 6, 2024, Fortune Bowl (1,400m) on Feb 11 and Committee’s Prize (1,600m) on March 9.

The prize money for the different Group races remains unchanged. For example, the purse for Group 1 stays at $300,000 and Group 2 at $150,000.

But, with the uptick in feature races, the total prize money up for grabs increases from $3.41 million to $5 million.

“In our conversations with trainers, they have asked that we prioritise raising the quality of races,’‘ said Dayle Brown, chief racing officer of the STC.

“And we have answered with the doubling of feature races and the return of popular race series.

“The revamped racing fixtures are particularly designed to bring greater prestige to the sport when runners have more feature races at their disposal.

“Race series takes the sport to a higher level by challenging the tenacity of champion horses and offering them additional impetus to excel.”

The number of race meetings, however, remains at 48.

As has been the trend in recent years, 37 meetings will be held on a Saturday.

The remaining 11 meetings will be held on a Sunday, including the second day of the Chinese New Year (Feb 11) for the Fortune Bowl.