Sun 28 Jun

The three Malaysian clubs will stage the Malaysia 3YO Championship for another three years. The good news comes on the heels of three successful seasons during which the best three-year-olds in the country fought for honours and some top quality horses emerged to make their marks in the local racing scene.

It was not always the winners of the Championship Finals who have gone on to make a bigger name for themselves, but then the aim of the Championship was to provide a platform to unearth talented youngsters.

Panda Bomb (Phenomenons – Riverside Lass by Noalchoholic), who finished second to Aragorn in 2017, went on to equal the 1400m track record over the short course at Sungei Besi when he won a Class 3 event the following year in the time of 1min. 21.4secs, matching the record set by Good Sight in 2011.

Aragorn (Manhattan Rain – Class Apart by French Deputy) and Panda Bomb may not be at the top of their game right now but they have already chalked up five and six wins respectively.

Relau Star (Captain Sonador – Shovella by Shovhog), runner-up to Step By Step (Captain Gerrard – American Morsecode by All Chatter) in the 2018 Final, is today one of the best sprinters around with eight wins to his credit.

Ra Force (Mossman – Hearts Will by Show A Heart), who finished third in 2018, has gone on to win three races.

And just how talented is last year’s winner Kante (Postponed – Strengthened by Woodman)?

Well, he is unbeaten in two starts. The yearling won his racing debut in December 2018 and did not race again until he showed up at the Final last June and promptly won again. He has not raced again since.

Amongst last year’s beaten brigade, Selangor Star (Niagara Causeway – Juncture by El Prado) has gone on to win three races, while Gloria Maris (Dick Turpin – Recoverable by Metal Storm), Rakama (Domesday – Senora Vega by Rock Of Gibraltar), Unchained Melody (Street Boss – Cellist by Stark South) and Doctor Ginger (Gingerbread Man – Empower Me by Canny Lad) have picked up two wins each.

The Malaysia 3YO Championship series was first staged from 2012 to 2014 and brought back in 2017 to encourage the importation of quality young horses into the country. Staged jointly by the three Malaysian clubs, it aims to boost the horse population, making racing more competitive across the board and in feature races. This will in turn generate greater interest and increase the turnover.

The 2012 winner Colin The Firth (All Bar One – Orchis by Octagonal) finished second in the Perak Gold Vase the same year and ran third again in the same race in 2013. He retired with a record of seven wins.

The 2013 winner Ghost Street (California Dane – Pomme De Here by Dehere) retired after winning five races, and Black And White(Mutawaajid – Dubai Pearl by Charnwood Forest), who triumphed in 2014, is still active today at the age of nine with 15 wins to his name.

Further proof that the Championship series do unearth talents is demonstrated by Balotelli (My Halo – Step We Gaily by Danske), second to Black And White in 2014, who went on to win the Tunku Gold Cup and Perak Gold Vase the following season and retired in 2018 with seven wins to his credit.

Feisty Leo (Blackfriars – Speed School by Royal Academy) won a heat in 2012 before going to Singapore where he scored a hattrick the same year. After his return to Malaysia, the gelding has continued to win his share of the races and even finished fourth to Fortunique in the Perak Derby in 2017. He is still active at 11 years with 11 wins.

The 2020 Malaysia 3YO Championship series will begin with the first heat in Ipoh on April 19. Penang will stage the second heat on May 31, followed by the third heat in Selangor on June 28. Each heat offers RM100,000 in prizemoney.

Selangor Turf Club will host the new series Final with stakes of RM200,000 on July 12. Nominations for this year’s series close on March 24.