News of the discontinuation of the $3 million Singapore Airlines International Cup and the $1 million KrisFlyer International Sprint certainly hit
Hong Kong-based Australian David Boehm like a thunderbolt.
No-one could blame him. After all, his champion DAN EXCEL became the only horse to win the SIA Cup twice (last year and this year) and he was looking forward for a hat-trick.
The Singapore Turf Club had on Monday announced that the 2,000m SIA Cup and the 1,200m KrisFlyer (both Group 1), introduced in 2000 and 2001 respectively, would be discontinued since several objectives, including branding Singapore races internationally and uplifting the quality of Singapore horses and Singapore racing, had been achieved.
In an email, Boehm said he was "shocked at this news".
He continued: "As you know, I had runners at the Singapore International Races in 2010 (Happy Zero in the Sprint, 3rd) and Dan Excel in 2013 (2nd) and, of course, Dan's victories in 2014 and 2015.
"Singapore Turf Club has always been so professional in it approach to its International races, and it was a much sought after honour to be invited and attend.
"It became my favourite international racing carnival. To be honest, I can't believe that STC decided to end these races so suddenly, with zero notice to everyone who has a "stake" in the business of horse racing in Asia, such as the Asian Racing Conference, the other clubs in the region, and all the trainers and owners who have been so supportive in the past."
Boehm said both he and trainer John Moore had planned next year's SIA Cup to be Dan Excel's swansong.
He wrote: "In my discussions with John Moore well before the start of the Hong Kong racing season, we already targeted the SIA Cup in May
2016 to be Dan Excel's final race, surely befitting the two-time champion of this race.
MONEY CAN'T BUY
"Had we known that there would be no Singapore races (who could have imagined there would not be?), we would have quite possibly accepted the invitations of Mooney Valley or Japan, who have been clamouring to get Dan Excel to race in their respective countries.
"Yes it is true that Hong Kong swept the Singapore events for the past three years but this kind of dominance is only ever temporary. The great thing for Singapore was that on International Day, the whole focus of the horse racing world all over the planet was on Singapore.
"This publicity for the STC, SIA and Singapore is priceless, money can't buy it. In a country that prides itself on its proactive attitude to tourism, to me, it is an astonishing backward step.
"The international thoroughbred market is going nowhere but up. I sure hope that STC and the authorities reconsider their decision."
The discontinuation was STC's decision.
SIA said it is "proud to have worked with Singapore Turf Club to bring a world-class horse racing event to Singapore. Apart from horse racing, we continually review other opportunities we can support, an example being the Formula 1 Singapore Airlines Singapore Grand Prix".
This article was first published on October 2, 2015.
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