Meiner Frost warming up for SIA Cup challenge
As well as continuing Grade 1 action in Japan, Singapore gets to stage its big international day this Sunday (May 17), with two top class races, the Singapore Airlines International Cup and the KrisFlyer International Sprint, both on the card at Kranji, sure to attract world attention. Japan has had some fair success in the race up to now, and Meiner Frost is the country’s representative this time around. This will be the eighth time Japan has contested the race, and wins went to Cosmo Bulk in 2006, and Shadow Gate in 2007, with Cosmo Bulk managing to finish second to the latter in 2007, in what was clearly a great year for Japan in the race. Other worthy results were Tascata Sorte’s fifth in 2009, and Tokei Halo’s fourth just last year.
The first SIA Cup was held in 2000 and coincided with the official opening of the Kranji Racecourse that year, with honours going to the locally trained Ouzo on that occasion, representing Singapore’s only win in the race. Since then, winners have come from all around the globe, including England, the UAE, Germany, France, Australia, South Africa, Hong Kong and Japan. Europe has been represented every year since 2000, and this year is no exception, with French trained runners, Free Port Lux and Smoking Sun, coming from the stables of Freddy Head and Pascal Bary respectively. The might of Hong Kong will also be on display, with Military Attack and Dan Excel, both previous winners of the SIA Cup, mounting a huge challenge and bidding to become winners of the race for a second time for the first time in history. The rest of the field of eleven will be horses trained in Singapore, four of them from trainer Patrick Shaw’s yard, including recent Dubai import, Cooptado.
So Meiner Frost faces no easy task, but the 4-year-old grey colt by Black Tide is going into the race with a fair enough career record to date. In his two Grade 1 races, he finished third to One and Only in the Tokyo Yushun (Japanese Derby) in 2014, and seventh to Toho Jackal in the Kikuka Sho (Japanese St. Leger) in the same year. He has four career wins from fourteen starts, and is coming off a win in the Open Class Fukushima Mimpo Hai over 2000 meters at Fukushima on April 12. He races in the colours of Thoroughbred Club Ruffian and is trained by Noboru Takagi, who enjoyed his first ever Grade 1 success late last year when Snow Dragon captured the Sprinters Stakes in Niigata. He will be ridden by jockey Masami Matsuoka who has two career Grade 1 victories to his name, namely Koiuta in the 2007 Victoria Mile, and Meiner Kitz in the Tenno Sho (Spring) (Emperor’s Cup) in 2009. He also rode Cosmo Bulk to a sixth place finish in the 2008 SIA Cup.
Meiner Frost touched down in Singapore last Saturday (May 9) at just after 5 am. He travelled well and looked fine on his arrival. His first piece of work was a trot and a slow canter under assistant trainer, Satoshi Munakata, who had the following to say afterwards: “His last strong gallop was at the Miho training center before he left Japan. It’s his first time travelling and he didn’t lose any weight. He had a trot and a slow canter on the turf track and seems fine, looking around him and taking everything in. He’ll have a gallop on Wednesday or Thursday.” After another preparation session on Tuesday, Munakata commented, “He was a lot more focused today and seems used to the track already. He’ll go on grass again tomorrow to do some faster work.” Meiner Frost has also been undertaking paddock schooling, and will run in his usual noseband just to make sure he doesn’t drop his head and keeps his concentration.
So all in all, a great race is anticipated when runners line up for the S$3 million showpiece, which is race 10 on the card on Sunday, and will be run over 2000 meters, which is just over one circuit of the Kranji track. It will be the 15th running of the race (there was no race in 2003 due to the SARS outbreak) and lucky owners can receive prize money down to tenth place.