Cliff trained his 400th winner in Singapore, when Guilt Complex took out the Class 3 1400m on Sunday 13th of February. Whilst the stable has been full, and enjoying an excellent last couple of season’s, this certainly wasn’t the case when Cliff, his young family and staff arrived in Singapore in November 2007.
Accompanying Cliff was Assistant trainer Tim Fitzsimmons, who has been with Cliff the entire time in Singapore, and Racing Manager Chris Bock, who returned to Melbourne after 2 years in Singapore but returned to continue the role in 2012. Learning the customs of a new country and new work environment was a challenge for all, particularly when the stable had no horses in the stable to start with.
Just prior to the team leaving for Singapore, Australian racing was rocked with an outbreak of Equine Influenza. This outbreak not only led to the cancellation of Racing in New South Wales, but a ban on all horse exports from Australia. Earmarked to come to Singapore were 14 horses that Cliff had trained in Australia, and these horses didn’t arrive in Singapore until April 2008.
So for the first 6 months, the stable had to build from having no horses to train, to get enough horses to start having an impact in Singapore. Quite a few off casts from other stables found their way into the stable, and Cliff and the team quickly showed their talents in particular when taking over Daring Commander who had not won for 10 months, and turned his form around to win 5 more races, with many minor placings. Daring Stable’s manager Sunny Lim was one of the bigger owners to support Cliff Brown Racing early on, and we enjoyed many winners in those initial years. Daring Commander still holds pride of place with his picture in the office as a horse who helped the enterprise get going.
A core group of owners, in particular Greg Perry from Australia have supported the stable from the start, and without his support and that of other owners, gaining a foothold in Singapore Racing would have been all the more difficult. Local staff, including Stable Supervisor Jaya, senior track rider Sabri and many of our syces, have been with the stable since it started in 2007, and it has been a huge team effort by all those involved.
From humble beginnings, the stable continued to grow, and in 2011, Cliff won Singapore’s most prestigious race the Singapore Derby with Clint for one of Singapore’s biggest owners Oscar stable. Many feature races have followed since, with last year Cliff becoming the first trainer to win 5 Group 1 races in a season since racing started at Kranji Racecourse.
Guilt Complex storms home to bring up Cliff’s 400th winner in Singapore
In a very competitive environment with some trainers having huge backing from prominent owners in their native countries, Cliff and the team have continued to build and expand the stable with the focus on quality not quantity. This philosophy and attention to detail sees the stable continually have one of the best strike rates in terms of winners to runners, and also win and be a major player in the major races in Singapore.
A big thank you to all our staff, and stable clients who continue to invest in racing in Singapore and Cliff Brown Racing. We have met a lot of great people, many of whom have become great friends during the last 8 years.