Star mare PARRANDA, from the United States, will face eight international rivals and an outside barrier as she tries to add to her imposing record in the inaugural $3.05 million Group 1 CECF Singapore Cup at Kranji on Sunday.
The Christophe Clement-trained runner contested some of the most prestigious mare races back home last year and enters Sunday's 1,800m race specifically for members of China Horse Club off the back of an imposing win in the Group 3 Marshua's River Stakes.
However, she will need to be at her best to account for runners from France, Australia, the US and Singapore.
"The quality of racehorses, jockeys and trainers involved in the inaugural international China Equine Cultural Festival (CECF) is there and we are delighted by that," said Eden Harrington, general manager of the China Horse Club, a lifestyle, business and thoroughbred racing club.
Among the nine stakes winners are a local Group 1 winner (Tropaios), performers that have Group 2 races in the United States (Parranda), Australia (Zululand) and France (Auvray).
On the riders' front, there will be high-ranking jockeys such as Christophe Soumillon, Tommy Berry, Jamie Spencer, Hugh Bowman and Darryll Holland, and local stars Manoel Nunes, Corey Brown and Craig Newitt.
"It is a good mix of talent and this weekend it will be very interesting to see how this Cup pans out. The CECF Singapore is the first international China Equine Festival we have hosted and the field for the feature event made up by star racehorses owned by members," said Harrington
"Our members are excited, that is what this is all about. We are striving to create interest and participation in thoroughbred racing from the people of mainland China, so this event has a real purpose to it.
"Hopefully, the industry at large sees the benefit of it, enjoys the festival and supports it going forward so we can continue to work to make it bigger and better."
Michael Freedman, the only Singapore-based trainer involved in the inaugural CECF Singapore Cup, said this is a fantastic race for Singapore to be hosting and a fantastic opportunity for racing in this country to promote itself to mainland China.
He is happy with his runner Tropaios, who caused a stir in China when winning the 2013 $1.35 million Group 1 Longines Singapore Gold Cup.
Said the Australian: "I'm happy with how Tropaios is shaping up for the CECF Singapore Cup. He is ticking over well. We have changed his gear for this run. The blinker-pacifiers will come off and we will put the ear muffs back on him.
"I just want to try and have him relax in his races and not fight his rider. We know that when he relaxes, he can run very well."
This article was first published on February 18, 2015.
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