SOUTH African runners Janoobi (Mike de Kock) and Noah From Goah (now with Ricky Le Grange) are among the 50 nominations for the inaugural invitational $1,5-million Gr1 Kranji Mile over 1600m on 26 May.
The entries are split between 25 overseas horses hailing from nine countries and 25 entries from Singapore, the host country.
Long staged in early October as the first Leg of the Singapore Triple Crown series, the Kranji Mile is this year being revamped into an Invitational race as a prelude to its eventual upgrading to full international race in 2019.
If the healthy interest from both overseas and local shores, as mirrored by the high quality of nominations received is anything to go by, the stage looks all set for an exciting comeback of international racing in Singapore.
From the international side, the highest number of entries was received from Hong Kong (seven), headed by the winners of the Group 1 Longines Hong Kong Mile (1600m) in the last two years, Beauty Only (2016) for trainer Tony Cruz and Beauty Generation (2017) for trainer John Moore, who took home the Singapore Airlines International Cup (2000m) in the last three years of the former International Group 1 race – Military Attack (2013) and Dan Excel (2014 and 2015).
The UK is also well represented with five horses, headed by the Andrew Balding-trained Here Comes When, a Danehill Dancer eight-year-old who captured the Group 1 Qatar Sussex Stakes (1600m) IN heavy rain last year.
Ireland has thrown two runners in the mix, including old stalwart and dual-Group 1 winner Gordon Lord Byron. New Zealand also presents a duo, namely Ocean Emperor, a dual-Group 2 winner, including the Japan New Zealand International Trophy (1600m) on March 24, and Ronchi.
With 25 entries registered for Singapore, there is every indication the home team is keen to repeat the historical feat achieved by Ouzo in the very first Singapore Airlines International Cup in 2000.
Sharing top billing in the local ratings are Quechua, Infantry and Elite Excalibur, all on 113 points. The first two need little introduction as they both share multiple Group 1 wins between them, including the Group 1 Emirates Singapore Derby (2000m) with Quechua also landing the Group 1 Longines Singapore Gold Cup (2200m) in 2014.
Besides Quechua, trainer Ricky Le Grange has also filed in Majestic Moments, up-and-comer Iron Man and a well-credentialed newcomer in Noah From Goa, recently transferred from the de Kock yard and winner of the Gr 1 Cape Guineas (1600m) in South Africa.