The Singapore Sprint Series is a group of three races – all run over 1200m - spread through April and May for the first time in 2018, as opposed to the March-April period in the past.
The other major change brought about in 2018 is to the order of the first two Legs with the Group 3 JBBA Rocket Man Sprint and Group 2 Merlion Trophy swapping places. The Polytrack Leg, the Merlion Trophy used to kick off the series, but it is the JBBA Rocket Man Sprint who is slated as the first Leg now, followed by the Merlion Trophy. The Group 1 Lion City Cup is still held as the third and final Leg.
Aramco (Wong Chin Chuen) pulls away to a convincing win in the JBBA Rocket Man Sprint.
Known as the Kranji Sprint since its first edition in 2000 until 2016, the race was renamed as the Rocket Man Sprint to honour one of Singapore’s greatest sprinters, Rocket Man, the first Singapore-trained horse to have claimed an International race, the Group 1 Dubai Golden Shaheen (1200m) in Dubai in 2011. Sponsored by JBBA for the first time in 2018, the Rocket Man Sprint is the only handicap race among the three Legs while the other two are Weight-for-Age events.
Formerly known as the Fischer Stakes from 2000 to 2007, the second Leg was renamed as the Merlion Trophy in 2008, when it was captured by Why Be, who was effectively scoring a hat-trick of wins in that event as he had won back-to-back Fischer Stakes the two previous years (2006 and 2007). The Merlion Trophy was upgraded to Group 2 status in 2016.
The jewel in the crown of the series is the Lion City Cup, which dates back to 1974, and is Singapore’s richest and only domestic Group 1 sprint with a purse of $1 million on offer. The prizemoney will swell further to $1.35 million next year when it will become an International race next year. Rocket Man has won the Lion City Cup a record four times from 2009 to 2012.