Racing

This one’s for you, says trainer Brown of late owner Yong

Gold Kingdom's win a fitting tribute to Gold Stable's Yong Nam Seng, who died last Saturday week

When Gold Kingdom scored a resounding four-length victory in the $30,000 Class 5 race over the Polytrack 1,600m at Kranji on Saturday, no-one was happier than winning trainer Cliff Brown.

The win was a fitting tribute to Gold Stable's patriarch, Yong Nam Seng, who died just a week earlier. He was 92.

"Mr Yong died last Saturday, but we didn't have any runners for him then. This win today is for him," said the Australian, who dropped a bombshell last week that he would be moving back Down Under in the middle of March.

"The good news is the Gold Stable will still carry on. Mr Yong's legacy as a racing fan will live on.

" He was a wonderful man. He supported me from the moment I got here.

"He's a terrific owner, very generous and a very caring guy. You don't meet many like him.

"Our families became good friends.

"We often had dinners together, and my son Harvey told me one day that Mr Yong has always done the right thing by us, and he was right."

Yong, the chairman of local construction company Woh Hup and a former Singapore Turf Club committee member, was an avid racing fan who raced one of Singapore's oldest stables with its easily recognisable gold-and-red diamond silks.

He also raced and bred horses in England. He once owned Woodditton Stud in Newmarket, the headquarters of racing in England.

In its website, Woodditton said Yong bought the property in 1981 and enlarged it to 185 acres (74.8 hectares).

Several champion stallions stood there, including Superlative, Sayf el Arab, Damister, Celtic Swing and Bin Ajwaad.

It added that, after Yong decided to relinquish his racing interests, the stud was purchased by Darley Stud Management in November 2001 on behalf of Sheikh Mohammed, the current ruler of Dubai.

The New Paper Racing editor Tan Thean Loon remembers visiting the sprawling stud farm in 1988, when he was on a trip to Newmarket.

"I met Mr Yong and his wife as I was walking in Newmarket's town and he invited me to his Woodditton stud.

"He showed me a few stallions and I am quite sure Superlative was one of them.

"Mr Yong was a down-to-earth man who enjoyed his racing. May his soul rest in peace."

Before Brown, Yong's horses were stabled with trainers like 13-time Malayan Racing Association champion Teh Choon Beng, Arnaud de Moussac, Dr Yeoh Kheng Chye and his brother Sonny.

Yong's Gold Strike, trained by Brown, came close to winning the $1 million Group 1 Singapore Gold Cup in 2019. He flashed home to beat all but Mr Clint by 3/4 lengths.

Kranji racegoers will remember the days when Yong would grace the club despite his advanced age, helped along by his son Eugene.

HORSE RACING