In a watershed day The China Horse Club saluted twice at one of the most prestigious race days in Asia and collected it’s maiden G1 win when Tropaios’ courageous drive to the line landed the $S1.35 million G1 Longines Singapore Gold Cup at Kranji, Singapore.
The Longines Singapore Gold Cup is the richest domestic race in Singapore and the planning for this occasion began 14 month ago when CHC Chairman, Mr Teo Ah Khing, set in motion a plan to source a talismanic performer for China’s premier racing, lifestyle and business club. That planning was richly rewarded as Tropaios delivered a paralyzing sprint to come from last of 14 runners to collect the CHC’s 10th international win for the year in a spellbinding finish.
“This is a fantastic result for The China Horse Club and its members, it is a fantastic result for our trainer Michael Freedman and his team and for our jockey Tommy Berry,” said Mr Teo amid raucous celebrations.
Tropaios (Tommy Berry, No 10 ) gets up in the nick of time to land the Longines Singapore Gold Cup.
“The China Horse Club is very focused on delivering wonderful experiences to its members, occasion that are truly memorable and unique. This is one of those occasions. This is why people race horses. This is one of the reasons why people associate themselves with the China Horse Club. This is a tremendously rewarding moment for everyone associated with the club and with this horse.”
“In a fitting award ceremony the Longines Singapore Gold Cup was presented by Mr Sellapan Ramanthan, the sixth President of Singapore, to Mr Teo. A wonderful Longines watch was presented by Longines’ Vice-President and Head of International Marketing Mr Juan-Carlos Capelli to Ms Ivy Ng. The moment was even more rewarding with Longines the Official Timekeeper, Official Watch and Official Partner of the CHC and the China Equine Cultural Festival.
The moment was not lost of trainer Michael Freedman who openly declared yesterday’s win his most important and gratifying in a glittering career. “I’ve been involved in some big wins back home, but this is my biggest thrill in racing,” said Freedman.
“To have trained the winner of Singapore’s richest domestic race in my own right is such a great feeling. I’ve been up here five-and-a-half years now and it’s been fantastic for not just me but also my family as well. It’s a huge honour to win the race in a place that we call home and will continue to do for a number of years still.
“There is such a lot of history around Singapore racing and to be a part of it by winning this race is such an honour. And to win it for the China Horse Club just adds to the achievement. They have a huge involvement in racing around the world and for them to make a huge commitment here and to win this race is certainly a feather in the cap.”
Team Tropaios celebrates (from left to right): trainer Michael Freedman, CHC Chairman Teo Ah Khing and jockey Tommy Berry.
For Australian jockey Tommy Berry the moment was one to savour. Singled out as an ideal partner for Tropaios in discussions between Freedman and CHC management he delivered a cool, calculating ride with immense poise. The star rider immediately drew Tropaios to the back of the field and while the gelding was over racing slightly Berry didn’t panic, allowing his mount to find his head and relax into his rhythm.
As leader Musketeer carried the field through modest sectionals Berry remained unflinching and Tropaios coiled to explode. Upon entering the home straight Tropaios was given the exacting task of making up some 14 lengths on the leaders but Berry balanced him up, drew him to the centre of the track and rallied every ounce of effort from the chestnut. With every stride Tropaios closed on his rivals. Inside the final 100m the four-year-old still had several lengths to make up but with Berry willing him on Tropaios delivered his lines to perfection, hitting the front in the final strides in what was one of the most breath taking wins in the Longines Singapore Gold Cup’s history.
“It’s unbelievable,” said Berry. “It’s great coming to new tracks, sitting aboard new horses and getting the job done and it’s a place (Singapore) that I would like to get back to in the future. I had a plan before the race and with the little bit of rain I thought that would be even better for him. But before the race I had a bit of a change of mind. I originally wanted to ride back and come up on the inside of them, but the fence was chopped up a bit so I decided to come out.
“At the top of the straight I thought he was going to win, but then he hit a bit of a flat spot half-way down the straight. Luckily he picked up again and we were able to get there in the end.”
Tropaios was selected by a think tank of CHC’s racing team including its French based trainer Nicolas Clement, Freedman and General Manager Eden Harrington. The four-year-old has now won almost USD 900,000 (RMB 5.1 million) in only 16 career starts.
Capping the day off was an earlier win by the hugely promising Rite of Spring who lifted his career record to three wins and two seconds from only five starts. Rite of Spring and Tropaios will both be given a break before refocusing on major race events in 2014.