The heavy rain, which had drenched the city on Friday and Saturday, continued to drop on Sunday (November 12) early morning too. But by 11am it eased, leaving the Singapore Turf Club without any hindrance to host the country’s richest horse race, the $1.35 million Dester Singapore Gold Cup.
As thousands of racegoers walked up to the Singapore Racecourse at Kranji to enjoy the slate of 11 races scheduled for the afternoon and evening, they were given free memorabilia caps and treated to a reception of songs by the popular music duo ShiLi and Adi. They belted out popular Western numbers at the Level 4 foyer and also at the Marquee, where 250 guests turned up in their best outfits to lap up the action and entertainment on the track and off it.
At the Committee Box on Level 4, hundreds of members and guests were treated to a sumptuous buffet, which included items such as home-cured salmon with Szechuan pepper, bak kut teh with yu tiao, prawn wanton noodle with char siew, roasted lamb, barbecued stingray and seafood fried rice. There was a also a free flow of Dester “100% Malt” beer.
Indeed the title sponsor of the day’s biggest race had decorated the room with vintage props to showcase its range of the popular brew. Guests had the chance to photograph themselves seated on a hand-pulled rickshaw and pose talking via a 60s model telephone. Dester girls, dressed in ivory-coloured dresses, also walked around the tables serving beer.
At the foyer, booths were set up where the racegoers could go in between the races to get a fan inscribed with Chinese calligraphy, get tips from a fortune teller or get their shoes shined by a professional. They could also pick up souvenirs from the gift shop.
A lucky draw and English and Chinese songs belted out by the White Ribbon band were the other attractions that kept those at the Committee Box engrossed.
The Marquee also had a Dester beer drinking competition, which was won by Ritchie Scott, 29, an operations manager with an aviation company who downed a glass in seven seconds.
As the horses lined up to take part in the ninth race, the Dester Singapore Gold Cup, all eyes began to focus on the track. Many made a rush to the glass-panelled front of the Box to get a closer look. Infantry and Gilt Complex were the favourites to win the race. While Infantry faded out, Gilt Complex made a strong run and pipped last year’s winner Bahana at the post in a photo-finish.