The Singapore Turf Club (STC) will postpone the $1 million Singapore Derby, originally scheduled for April 18, with the new date to be announced later.
The Saas Fee Stakes, a $175,000 Group 3 feature scheduled on the same day, has been cancelled.
The STC will be holding only one local race meeting per week this month. All races will be on Fridays. As of last Friday, members of the public will not be admitted into the Singapore Racecourse in Kranji.
The above measures are expected to be in place until April 30 and are in line with the Ministry of Health’s advisory on the tighter measures to minimise further spread of the coronavirus.
The club has also cancelled the post position draw for the Derby at the Asian Civilisations Museum on April 16.
The Group 1 Singapore Derby is one of the oldest feature races on the local racing calendar and is the final leg of the Four-Year-Old Challenge Series.
Bold Thruster won the first leg – the $175,000 Group 3 Silver Bowl over 1,400m on Feb 29. Siam Blue Vanda took home the second – the $400,000 Group 2 Stewards’ Cup over 1,600m on March 20.
Both were prepared by Michael Clements, who had said all his five Stewards’ Cup runners would be heading for the Derby.
The Zimbabwe-born Singaporean trainer said: “There’s some disappointment because it’s a race which my horses would’ve been favourites for… hopefully we’ll still be in the position to have those horses prepared for the Derby when it’s eventually run.”
The last horse to sweep the Series was Jolie’s Shinju in 2009. That was when the series comprised the Patrons Bowl, the Singapore Derby Trial and the Singapore Derby.
The Derby was inaugurated in 1880 at the then-racecourse at Farrer Park. It was cancelled in 1910 and revived in 1959. Since then, it has been contested over various distances – from 2,400m to 2,000m and now, 1,800m.
Sun Marshal captured last year’s Derby. Trained by Lee Freedman, the chestnut gelding was ridden by Perth jockey Joseph Azzopardi.
Together with the Singapore Gold Cup, the Derby is the second richest race here, after the $1.5 million Kranji Mile, scheduled for May 23. The invitational Mile, won by Hong Kong’s Southern Legend in 2018 and 2019, is also in doubt due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
• Additional reporting by Kimberly Kwek