French raider Chinchon took command with just over a furlong to go and rolled to an easy three-length victory in the $2.4 million Singapore Airlines International Cup (Sin-I) at Kranji Racecourse May 20.
The 7-year-old horse by Marju improved off his fifth-place finish to Gitano Hernando in last year’s edition of the Cup. The Carlos Laffon-Parias trainee is a veteran world traveler, having also shipped to North America numerous times, where he has a victory and a second-place finish in the last two renewals of the United Nations Stakes (gr. IT) at Monmouth Park.
There were several anxious moments before the start of the race, when Godolphin’s City Style acted up in the starting gate. The gelding by City Zip suffered some cuts on his legs and was withdrawn by veterinarians.
At the start it was South Africa’s Flax that went to the front, tracked closely by Waikato, with German raider Zazou right behind them in third. Jockey Olivier Doleuze had Chinchon settled on the rail and toward the rear of the field.
The order remained unchanged for most of the race until the field entered the home straight. Zazou was the first to make his move, ranging up on the outside of Flax as Waikato began to fade. Chinchon made steady progress along the rail, and as the field fanned out for the drive, Doleuze shot him through an opening between horses.
In the final furlong it was all Chinchon. The bay drew off under steady encouragement to win convincingly. Zaidan closed for second, with longtime leader Flax hanging on to take third, a half-length behind Zaidan. Zazou faded late and had to settle for fourth.
Final time for the 10 furlongs was 2:04.43 over a soft turf course.
Doleuze, who rode Chinchon for owner Darpat S.L. Stables, told reporters after the race, “I can’t believe it; I’m still up in the air. I’ll come down to earth in a day or so.”
“It means an awful lot to me to win this race in Singapore. I was one of the early ones to come out of Europe to ride here, which makes this special,” the rider added.
Chinchon was bred in Ireland by Zubieta Limited, and is out of the Hector Protector mare Jarama.