One of the few feature races not on Cliff’s Singapore CV was delivered by stable star Debt Collector in The Group 2 Chairman’s Trophy over 1600m on Sunday the 7th of April. Without doubt the dominant force in Singapore racing’s feature events over the last 5 years, the headline act of course is the magnificent Debt Collector who collected his 12th win and 8th Group race (five Group 1’s) with his trademark narrow win in the Chairman’s Trophy.
Whilst other stable’s may boast one headline horse, Cliff’s recent feature race haul has included numerous horses over a range of distances, again showcasing Cliff’s talents as a trainer over sprint and classic distances. Elite Excalibur, Mister Yeoh, Gilt Complex, Laughing Gravy, Zac Spirit and a host of Group and feature race placings have kept the stable at the forefront of Singapore Racing’s elite races.
The Chairman’s Trophy was a carbon copy of most of Debt Collector’s races, with Regular partner Michael Rodd allowing him to settle in last place after barrier rise. Tacking on to the field as the home turn approached, Rodd eased DC to the outside of the field. With his customary electric turn of foot, Rodd and DC had quickly put paid to the whole field in 250m, and it seemed that this time it would be a stress free comfortable victory.
Alas, Countofmontechristo had got a split near the rails, and with another master big race ride from G Boss surged and actually headed DC with about 100m to go. With the race in his keeping , or so DC thought, his frustrating habit of switching off thinking his job was done, kicked in. With Rodd urging him, finally DC caught sight of the horse on his inside and his tremendous will kicked in again. It’s not the first time DC has not seen a competitor in a race, but part of his armory is his will to win and enormous heart. He had a neck to spare on the line, and made it 4 wins from 5 starts since his holiday in Australia in 2018.
“There is no other horse who makes me feel so many emotions. He makes me happy, but he can make me so angry as well,” said jockey Michael Rodd,who has now been aboard at 11 of Debt Collector’s 12 wins. Michael is an enormous part of team Brown, and along with B trainer Tim Fitzsimmons, track rider Sabri, and of course DC’s syce Boy and all the staff, it is enormously satisfying to see their hard work rewarded with Debt Collector’s race track performance.
Barree Stable Managing owner Glenn Whittenbury again made the trip from Australia to watch his pride and joy DC compete in the Chairman’s Trophy. Having raced horses for 30 years, Glenn is only to aware of the ups and downs of the racing industry. Some four years ago (August 2015), both Glenn and his son Bryce (the other partner in Barree Stable) witnessed their first winner live in Singapore when North Atlantic Ice won a class 4.
That win of North Atlantic Ice not only provided enormous excitement, it was celebrated with the gusto of a Group race win. Little did we all know that the first combined Barree and Cliff Brown Racing purchase, a two year old by Thorn Park out of the mare Prompt Payment, having his first trial in Singapore one month later, would start an unforgettable ride for Barree Stable and all at Cliff Brown Racing. Sadly, Glenn’s father Alan is no longer with us to share this on-going ride with DC, but Glenn and Bryce have made great friendships in Singapore, and their visits are eagerly anticipated as much as Debt Collector’s attempts to add his extraordinary race record. Again Glenn celebrated with his Singapore friends on Sunday evening.
With top liners in good form, some well performed new additions to the stable yet to make their Singapore debut’s, a crop of lightly raced 3 year old’s and nearly a dozen un raced two year old’s in their early stages of preparations in Singapore, the stable can look forward with great optimism.
It would be hard to disagree with Cliff’s assessment that Debt Collector is the best horse to race in Singapore since Rocket Man. 12 wins from 23 starts, five at Group 1 level, and 8 Group wins in total. His record at weight for age is outstanding, and it’s weight for age racing that is the true measure of a horses ability, a fact that may have been overlooked by some who voted in the season 2018 racing awards.