If you believe in Omens, then there was no way Debt Collector would not win the Group 1 Queen Elizabeth II Cup at Kranji on Sunday 21st October. In the week leading up to the race, the World Wide media were carrying a story of a break away from Royal protocol in Australia, the likes of which for it’s spontaneity, affection and of course it’s effect on a young Australian lady had not been seen for many a long year. The young lady in question was of course none other than India Brown, daughter of Cliff and Jo who has been a staunch Monarchist since the age of 8 and quite possibly the biggest fans of Prince Harry and Prince William on the planet.
Camping out in Melbourne since 4am, to catch a glimpse of the Royal couple Harry and Meagan, Prince Harry was drawn to a sign prepared earlier by India, which said she had been there since 4am, and stated her affection for the Royal family. After a quick verbal exchange the world watched as Harry and India embraced and India became the envy of Royal fans around the globe. Respecting the monarchy, India declined most interviews requests after the event, but Australian viewers were enlightened as to what the meeting meant to her when she spoke to Channel 7 news. Without a doubt, her Royal Highness Queen Elizabeth II, a most avid racing fan, would of been quite satisfied stroking her corgi’s as she watched Debt Collector take out the race named in her honour, after the events in Melbourne.
Sent out a clear favorite after his astonishing Raffles Cup victory, Debt Collector assumed his normal position at the tail of the field, this time with two behind him. Racing on the long course jockey Michael Rodd bided his time, allowing DC to cruise around the long home turn, keeping the front runners in his sight. Peeling out at the 400m with nearly the whole field in front of him, Rodd stoked up DC and he rapidly made ground on the pack.
What transpired was a sooner-than-expected burst to prominence with Debt Collector quickly putting paid to the challengers of the prominent runners Countofmontecristo, and the well-fancied pair Jupiter Gold and Circuit Land. By the 200m Debt Collector had left the entire field in his wake. With the majority of his victories, achieved by steaming over the top of his rivals in the last 100m, Michael Rodd had to keep DC’s mind on the job in the last 200m, and he scored by a comfortable length, from the fast finishing Majestic Moments.
Owner Glenn Whittenbury was on his feet roaring home Debt Collector well before the line, secure in the fact that DC had wrapped this one up earlier than he usually does and was able to enjoy the last 100m without any coronary fibrillation’s. Glenn was mobbed by friends and well-wishes after the race all enjoying the moment, and steeling themselves for what was going to be another night of punishing, but euphoric celebrations.
The staggering statistic of nine Group 1 victories in the last three seasons, together with other multiple Group and feature race wins, not just recently but in Cliff’s entire time in Singapore, is testament to Cliff’s ability to select, buy, train and manage horses to peak at the right time. Ably assisted by B Trainer Tim Fitzsimmons and a group of dedicated staff, Cliff rightly pointed out in his post race interview that it is a massive team effort by all involved.
With his fifth Group 1 victory, and 10th win overall, Debt Collector took his earnings past $2.7 million. It’s been an incredible return to greatness for Debt Collector and a journey shared with many friends Glenn has made in Singapore. No horse has ever won the Singapore Triple Crown. The final leg, The Singapore Gold Cup on November 11th, will be a tough task given it’s a handicap, and DC will have to carry top weight. The decision whether to run in the Cup will be made by connections in the coming weeks.