The Singapore Triple Crown series was first introduced shortly after the Singapore Turf Club shifted from Bukit Timah to Kranji in 1999. This exciting series was inspired by the prestigious Triple Crown in the United States.
While the American version dates back to the 1920s with the world-famous Kentucky Derby followed by the Preakness Stakes and the Belmont Stakes, the Singapore edition is younger but is similarly based on the same three-Leg model, though it did not always comprise the same three races.
The original series actually opened with the Raffles Cup, followed by the Queen Elizabeth II Cup before culminating with the crown jewel - the time-honoured Singapore Gold Cup.
In its current form, the Kranji Mile, a race first introduced in 2000, replaces the QEII Cup and is the first Leg, progressing then to the Raffles Cup and lastly the Singapore Gold Cup. All three races are Group 1 events for three-year-olds and above held three weeks apart and are run over the turf track. The Kranji Mile is run over 1,600 metres, normally at the beginning of October, followed by the Raffles Cup, over 1,800 metres, with both races run at weight-for-age. The series concludes with the Singapore Gold Cup, a stamina-sapping race staged over 2,200 metres which is the only Leg to be a handicap, and is regarded by many as the toughest hurdle.
Infantry (Manoel Nunes) outbattles Countofmontecristo (Glen Boss) to gain victory in the
Panasonic Kranji Mile.
As an added incentive, the winner of any two Legs is entitled to a bonus prize of $50,000 while the winner of all three Legs wins a bonus prize of $300,000. Highlighting the toll it takes on its participants, no horse has managed to win all three Legs of the Singapore Triple Crown series in a calendar year. Perhaps the closest was Smart Bet who won all three races, but over a span of two years. The former Mohd Yusof-trained champion landed the Kranji Mile in 2001 before winning the Raffles Cup and the Singapore Gold Cup a year later.
Gilt Complex (A'Isisuhairi Kasim) runs his rivals off their feet in the Group 1 Raffles Cup.
In the last two years, War Affair (2014) and Stepitup (2015) clinched the first two Legs, but failed in their bids for a historic first Triple Crown at the last hurdle, the Singapore Gold Cup.
This year saw two Legs captured, but they were the last two instead. The Cliff Brown-trained Gilt Complex did not make his presence felt in the Panasonic Kranji Mile, but was a major force to reckon with in the Raffles Cup, which he won with A’Isisuhairi Kasim aboard and in the final Leg, the Dester Singapore Gold Cup, which, under the guidance of big-race jockey Michael Rodd, he won by a hair’s breadth from last year’s victor Bahana.
Gilt Complex (Michael Rodd, on the inside) pips Bahana (William Pike) by a nose in the Dester
Singapore Gold Cup.
Winner: Gilt Complex