Dan Excel, under a masterful ride from Tommy Berry, landed the 14th Singapore Airlines International Cup (G1), the second consecutive training win in the race for John Moore. It was a Hong Kong double on the night as Lucky Nine became the first repeat winner a Singapore International Racing Festival race, landing the KrisFlyer International Sprint (G1) for trainer Caspar Fownes and Brett Prebble. It was familiarity for the Hong Kong runners as Dan Excel went one position better than he did a year prior, second to Military Attack in the 2013 running.
Tokei Halo did what he does – goes to the front. After that, it’s all bets off. Maybe he lengthens crazily, maybe he backs the pace down, maybe some other option. On Sunday in steamy Singapore, Hirofumi Shii decided to push the button down the backstretch, lengthen away, and then back it down before heading to the final turn. With fancied Military Attack covering a wide trip from gate ten, and other chances planted deep as well, Berry’s extra companion was the inside running rail after breaking from the inside.
Berry worked Dan Excel off the heels of Tokei Halo around the 600-metre mark and took flight, hitting the lead with 250 to run and was not for the catching. Smoking Sun, traveling wide throughout, ran on well for second with Military Attack a slightly dull third. The final time of 1:59.07, off the strong early gallop, was a new course record, lowering the mark set by Gloria De Campeao in the 2009 edition of the race.
Personally, for Berry, the win in Singapore was wildly emotional. Kranji Racecourse was the site of where his late brother, and fellow jockey Nathan, fell ill with Norse Syndrome, a condition considered an acute form of epilepsy. His death in early April rocked the racing world, and brought enormous attention to his 23 year-old brother, finding success in Hong Kong and beyond. Berry dedicated the win to his brother’s memory in an emotional post-race interview.
The Trakus data from the race was quite telling. Second placer Smoking Sun covered 17 metres more than rail-skimming winner Dan Excel, a margin that equates to roughly 6.5 lengths of extra ground. The final margin was just 1 ¾ lengths. Military Attack covered 16 metres more than Dan Excel when third, while sixth placer Si Sage endured 22 metres more than the winner. That performance for an American-trained runner was the best in the history of the race from four total appearances in Singapore. Godolphin Mile sixth Limario was worked-up before the race and could only manage an eighth placing off a wide trip.
Earlier on the programme, Lucky Nine got a stalking trip and ran away from the competition in the KrisFlyer Sprint, besting local runners Emperor Max and Zac Spirit. Dubai Golden Shaheen winner Sterling City was never involved and finished an even fifth from a wide draw.
Below, take a gander at some of the scene shots from the opening ceremonies at Kranji Racecourse.