The internationalization of Singapore racing will take another step forward when three crack mares depart from the United States this weekend en route to the island nation for the inaugural S$3.05 million (USD2.25 million) G1 CECF Singapore Cup (1800m).
The Christophe Clement trained pairing of Parranda and My Option and the Roger Varian trained Bajan have been preparing for Singapore’s richest race in Florida and departed overnight from Miami to travel via Luxembourg for their first international foray.
“Our team is very excited to be a part of such a prestigious event in Singapore,” said Clement this morning.
“We have been involved in carnivals in Canada, Dubai, Japan and Hong Kong before and the CECF Singapore is a new challenge again and a very exciting one. There are a medley of top horsemen from around the world coming to participate and it is exciting to be involved in. We have to thank the members of the China Horse Club for such an opportunity.”
Parranda is the most accomplished of the trio to date. The ‘chestnut warrior’ has won no less than 11 of her 29 career starts including an effortless three length triumph in the G3 Marshua’s River Stakes as part of her tune up for Singapore. The win was confirmation that the six-year-old remains at the top of her game. In 2014 Parranda saluted in the G2 Royal Heroine Stakes and two G3 events as well as being placed in the G1 Rodeo Drive Stakes, G1 Gamely Stakes and G1 Clement L. Hirsch Stakes.
“To have a mare of the calibre of Parranda target the CECF Singapore Cup is most encouraging. This is the first running of this race and the support of Christophe [Clement] and our members to target this event is certainly encouraging,” said Eden Harrington, General Manager of the China Horse Club.
“But on the strength of the nominations Parranda won’t have it all her own way. While she is established as one of the premier mares in the U.S. there are a number of quality runners from Europe, Australia, Singapore and other competitors from the U.S. and many are horses that are very much on an upward trajectory. I know trainers like John Thompson, Nicolas Clement, Francis Graffard and Jason Warren are happy with how their entrants are performing and hopefully they can all be peaking together. It will make for a tremendous contest.”
My Option is likely to be overshadowed by Parranda in the build up to the G1 CECF Singapore Cup but Clement is bullish about the preparation of the Keeneland graduate. My Option has regularly worked in partnership with Parranda and the two time G3 winner has impressed Clement in the short time she has been in his care.
Bajan, the third of the US based mares set to compete in Singapore, was placed in the G1 Santa Anita Oaks in 2014 and is new to the care of Varian. The G1 CECF Singapore Cup will be her first start for him under his watch. The trainer admits it will be a learning experience for him but the challenge of international racing in Asia is one he is eager to embrace.