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 kicked off with the Raffles Cup, followed by the Queen Elizabeth II Cup before culminating with the crown jewel - the time-honoured Singapore Gold Cup. It was only after racing moved to Kranji that the series was switched to the Kranji Mile, a race first introduced in 2000, as the opening Leg, followed by the Raffles Cup and the Singapore Gold Cup.
After 18 years, the Singapore Triple Crown Series interestingly went full circle last year, but is still meant for three-year-olds and above and run during the same September-November period.
The $800,000 million Group 1 Raffles Cup has been shortened from 1800m to 1600m and is run at the end of September, followed by the $800,000 Group 1 Queen Elizabeth II Cup, which is now dropped from 2000m to 1800m and run in October. The anchor race and final Leg still remains the $1 million Group 1 Dester Singapore Gold Cup, the only handicap race of the three, and which was dropped from 2,200 metres to 2,000 metres.
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.
Regardless of format, no horse has managed to win all three Legs in a calendar year, with the closest being Smart Bet who won all three races, but over a span of two years, when 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.
Last year, Debt Collector could have had a shot at rewriting history when he won the first two Legs, but just like in 2016, trainer Cliff Brown preferred to see his champion galloper sit out the Singapore Gold Cup. The race was no less exciting with Elite Invincible getting up in a tight finish to hand both trainer Mark Walker and jockey Benny Woodworth their first Gold strike.