Training central at Kranji
I WAS fortunate to attend a Singapore race meeting, see track work and join a tour of the Kranji facility last week.
While the punting at the races and the thrill and excitement of thoroughbred racing are similar to Australia and most racing countries, there are significant differences in the overall Singaporean industry.
It starts with the breeding sector.
Due to the size of the country, there is no breeding of racehorses in the country - all runners are imported from various breeding countries, with half of the racing stock imported from Australia.
The training of horses is also different to Australia and other major racing countries across the world.
In Australia, there are hundreds, perhaps thousands, of different training centres across the country.
In Singapore, all horses in work are stabled at the Kranji facility where there are almost 2000 boxes for the entire horse population of the country.
There are also sand and poly training tracks and swimming facilities, although there is no training of gallopers allowed on the turf track.
On race day, the excitement of thoroughbred racing is the same as it is the world over.
It is possibly more exciting in Singapore as a taxi driver put it to us because the track is the only place in the country that people are allowed to yell and to not be fined for littering if a losing ticket is dropped.
There are 98 race meetings per year at Kranji on most Fridays and Sundays on either the turf or poly tracks.
Even on Saturday and despite no racing, thousands attend to bet on international races, including Australia.
With little opportunity to bet, other than at the races, there were crowds averaging 10,000 per race meeting up until recently when the introduction of the Marina Bay Sands Casino had an impact on visitors to the race track.
The next difference to most other racing countries is the system of subsidies employed by the Singapore Jockey Club.
The club owns all things in relation to racing, including all wagering, facility management and prize money and subsidy dispersals.
Subsidies are generous in that just to race your horse attracts a $900 subsidy to the owners and a $400 subsidy to the trainer. Prize money is generous and is paid on top of the subsidies.
Another major difference is that there are no spelling complexes in Singapore - not as we know them anyway.
There are some boxes with small yards on the Kranji facility for horses not in work, though to get a full spell away from racing, the only nearby option is facilities in the Malaysian Highlands.
IPSWICH resident Tracey Bradley and her father Ted enjoyed time in the winner's lounge last Friday at the Ipswich race meeting.
The galloper that Tracey part-owns had an easy win in the first of the day.
The Tina Cotsiopoulos-trained Maryland won the Sky Racing Maiden by almost four lengths.
As well as giving the Bradleys a memorable day, it gave jockey Andrew Spinks the first of a winning double.
Spinks returned for his second win in race four aboard All But Grey for trainer Trevor Stevens.
A number of top-line trainers were in the winner's stall last Friday, including Kelly Schweida with Still As, Robert Heathcote with Per Mille, and Dysfunction for Gillian Heinrich.