The Dubai World Cup meeting held in March every year is an invitation only meeting with horses selected from all around the world to compete. Not only are the majority of horses Group 1 or Group winners, but the incredible International fields assembled feature the worlds most powerful owners and trainers. Owners such as Sheik Handan bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Godolphin, the Aga Khan and the Yoshida’s from Japan were heavily represented.
World recognized trainers such as Aiden O’Brien, Bob Baffert, Ed Dunlop and S Bin Suroor had multiple runners. Of course with the worlds best horse flesh racing, world class jockeys were in abundance with Joao Moriera, Mike Smith, Ryan Moore, William Buick and Christophe Soumilion all making the trip to Dubai. So to gain an Invitation to compete on the world stage with those mentioned above was an achievement in itself.
Debt Collector tried his heart out in the USD $6mil The Dubai Turf over 1800m at Meydan Racecourse on Saturday evening, 25th of March. Ridden by his regular partner Micheal Rodd, DC settled in his customary position at the tail of the field. From the 1000m mark the pressure began to be applied and the tempo quickened. With Rodd having to niggle Debt Collector to keep in touch, he began to make his move at the 600m. Rounding the home turn, as per usual, Debt Collector started to go through his gears at the top of the straight and looked to be reeling in many of the runners before peaking on his run with about 100m to go. A growing boy in a man’s world, he tried his heart out and finished 9th.
As Cliff told reporters from the Gulf News, we were going from being a big fish in a small pond to the open ocean. Still a very young horse, Debt Collector arrived back safely in Singapore on Tuesday morning with his new best mate Quechua and will spend two weeks in quarantine before returning to the stable and being set for the 4 year old series. Debt Collector will return a bigger and stronger individual and should gain plenty mentally, having had his first experience at traveling internationally.
A big thank you must go to Barree Stable, Managing Owner Glenn Whittenbury, who all along was very supportive of the Dubai International adventure. Glenn with son Bryce and daughter Caitlin arrived on Tuesday, and took up residence at the Meydan Hotel. Family and friends joined the contingent closer to Saturday 25th, and all had a most memorable racing experience. Cliff’s son Felix was excited o meet World Cup wining jockey Mike Smith who after signing his race book, went to his room and then presented Felix with a set of racing goggles (which were then worn for a sizable portion of Sunday!). A great training performance by Cliff to have him in Dubai in great condition rounded out a great team effort by all at the stable.
Special mention must go to Assistant trainer Tim Fitzsimmons playing a huge roll in all Debt Collector’s preparation late last year and this year to have him ready for his mission to Dubai. Thanks also to syce’s Boy and Naha for all the hard work and dedication with the horse in Dubai. A short break, and we’ll all see The Mighty Debt Collector back in action on his home turf in Singapore.