Fourth place finish for Meiner Frost in SIA Cup
Meiner Frost (horse number 3)
Japan’s solitary entry in the Singapore Airlines International Cup, Meiner Frost, put in a strong run to finish fourth at Kranji on Sunday evening, as Hong Kong runners finished first and second to take home the spoils from one of the Lion City’s most prestigious races of the year. What’s more, Hong Kong’s Aerovelocity took out the KrisFlyer International Sprint, completing a big race double for the country for a third consecutive year.
Things had gone well for Meiner Frost leading up to the race, and by the time trainer Noboru Takagi had arrived in Singapore on May 13, he was satisfied with his horse’s condition, saying, “I’m very happy with the way he looks and he’s worked very well; the assistant trainer has done a good job.” After Meiner Frost drew gate 8, Takagi also said, “I’m satisfied with this. Before the draw, we hoped for a middle gate and eight is good. He likes to sit handy or midfield.”
Come race time on Sunday, Meiner Frost was primed for a big run and he didn’t let his connections down. The race got under way at 8.40pm (9.40pm Japan time) and the eleven runners got down to battle over the 2000 meters on the short course, with Military Attack, the highest rated horse on 123, being sent off favourite. As soon as the gates opened, Dan Excel blitzed the start and got across from gate ten to grab a position on the running rail. This manoeuvre certainly proved to be a smart one, as Dan Excel was never headed in the race, and as much as the others tried, including Meiner Frost, who kept the winner company for most of the race, Dan Excel was never going to throw in the towel. The first four home were in that order for much of the race, and behind them, Free Port Lux, who was slowly away, and Smoking Sun, were the only ones to really get closer at the finish, finishing fifth and sixth respectively. Wild Geese, Cooptado and Slew of Lode were always towards the rear, with the latter finishing last.
About 600 meters from home, Meiner Frost almost got to join Dan Excel, and for a split second it looked like Japan’s striking grey might get the upper hand, but Dan Excel’s jockey, Tommy Berry, still had plenty in reserve and his canny front running ride was paying dividends. Military Attack finished strongly down the straight to take second, Quechua rallied for third, and Meiner Frost just ran out of steam and had to settle for fourth.
The winning jockey was more than pleased with his work and also praised the trainer. “It’s pretty unbelievable winning this again. It’s hard to describe how I feel right now. John (Moore) has been a great supporter of mine and we have had terrific success together,” Berry commented. The trainer was spot on with his assessment of things, saying, “It’s amazing. To get him back from surgery and win like this. It’s a dream come true.”
Meanwhile, in the Meiner Frost camp, there was satisfaction that the horse had run up to his best, with jockey Masami Matsuoka stating, “I was expecting a slow pace, so I wanted to have my horse in a prominent position, which I was able to do. In the straight, the others were just too strong. He ran well and I was happy with the run.” Of his trip to Singapore, trainer Noboru Takagi was a model of modesty. “I only started to think about Singapore two months ago. We filled in the nomination form and we are honoured to be invited by the Singapore Turf Club,” he said of the experience.
The winner Dan Excel is a 7-year-old gelding by Shamardal, and won the race in a time of 2 minutes 1.52 seconds. The distances were 1/2 length and 2 3/4 lengths.