Debt Collector delivers first Chairman’s Trophy

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.

DC and Rodd surge again to take the Chairman’s Trophy

“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.

Celebrating with Friends. Glenn put up a DC like performance eating a whole plate of Sushi meant for 4 people.

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.

Hardcore Blitzes over the mile!

All Too Hard gelding Hardcore opened his Singapore account with a resounding 4 and half length win in the Restricted Maiden over 1600m on Sunday 29th March, his 4th race start. Given plenty of time to mature, Hardcore has shown steady improvement in his time in Singapore, with only one glitch in his upward signs of improvement.

The improving three year old gelding was sent out as favorite at his previous start over 1400m, and with the addition of blinkers it was decided to ride him close to the pace. This didn’t work as he worked to hard early and faded in the last 200m. The blinkers were taken off for the 1600m event, and Jockey Michael Rodd was instructed to ride him more quietly.

Owners Julien and Nicole Reidy were on course to watch Hardcore win, while Scott Bryce watched from China and Nic Conidi watched in Australia

Settling mid field Hardcore traveled nicely until the straight where Rodd asked him for his effort. He quickly rounded up the leaders and was left in front when the leader hung out badly. Any thoughts of the leader being unlucky were quickly dispelled as Hardcore gapped the rest of the field, and actually was eased down on the line to win in great style.

Hardcore is owned by people scattered far and wide with Australian Nic Conidi and a group headed by stable client Scott Bryce. Hardcore races in Scott’s colours which have also been prominent this year with Copacabana carrying them to victory.

With primarily polytrack racing in April, Hardcore will next be seen in early May, and on the strength of his maiden win, it shouldn’t be take long to chalk up win number 2.

 

Incredible DC does it again

Debt Collector’s first run for season 2019, again had racing scribes searching for superlatives, as racegoers witnessed another victory that had to be seen to be believed. The Class 1 over 1400m attracted the best horses in Singapore, and was worthy of a Group 1 event. Add to this the fact That DC had to concede weight to all other horses in the race, made his first up win all the more meritorious.

Michael Rodd, had DC settled back to his customary rearward spot after jumping,  and began to make his move at the 700m circling the field. Upfront, race-leader Forever Young started to yield at the 400m, and Elite Invincible was the first one to pounce, with Countofmontecristo and the Lee Freedman pair of Blizzard and Circuit Land in close attendance.

At the 200m, with six to seven horses spread across the track within a couple of lengths of each other, it was the pair of Countofmontecristo and Debt Collector who took command and fought out a magnificent finale to the race, with the fact DC was nearly on the outside fence adding to the theatre.

In  the end a  neck separated Debt Collector ($22) from Countofmontecristo. Debt Collector covered the last 400m in the sizzling time of 21.97. 2018 Singapore horse of the year Elite Invincible was also left in DC’s wake.

DC and Michael Rodd steam down the outside fence to land an incredible victory.

Cliff’s quotes post race probably summed up the race and the thoughts of all involved. “This horse means the world to me. He is a dream to train. He’s just remarkable. He’s come back bigger and stronger and he did it with 59kgs on his back first-up. There were some very good horses like Countofmontecristo, Elite Invincible, Blizzard he had to give weight today, but he still came through.” B Trainer Tim Fitzsimmons, his syce “boy”, Michael Rodd, track rider Sabri and all the other staff do an incredible job in preparing Debt Collector to race, and are the un-sung heroes behind the euphoric scenes that greeted Debt Collectors win on Sunday.

Owner Glenn Whittenbury again made the trip to Australia to watch his favorite horse. Glenn has made many friends in Singapore and those that have shared the DC journey with Glenn again were on hand to watch the famous victory. Paul Robbins, Nick Johnston and Dennis Cornwell all made their way to the winners circle after DC again wrote another great chapter to what has been a remarkable ride so far.

Barree Stable Manager Glenn Whittenbury is joined by friends after the Class 1 1400m.

Debt Collector’s outstanding record now stands at 11 wins, two seconds and two thirds from 22 starts for stakes earnings in excess of $2.8 million for the Barree Stable of Mr Glenn Whittenbury. DC now has the same number of wins as retired stable star Zac Spirit, and will look to surpass him in the coming months.

ZAC IS BACK.

Highly promising four-year-old Zac Kasa began his 2019 campaign in the $100,000 Class 1 race over 1200m on Sunday 17th. Sent out as favorite ($12), Zac faced a good field of gallopers with Be Bee a last start winner (and 2017 champion two year old), expected to be the testing material.

Purchased by Cliff as a yearling at the Sydney Easter Yearling sale for long time owners Dr Andy Wong and Genni Wong (Zac Stable), the handsome grey son of Reset, came with a glowing endorsement by long time stable horse breaker and pre-trainer Brett Cavanough.

Best known for his 2018 Lion City Cup runner-up (to two-time Singapore champion sprinter Lim’s Cruiser), Zac was also second in the time honoured Group 2 $500,000 EW Barker Trophy in November 2018. So there was a great deal of expectation surrounding the son of Reset’s return to racing.

Carrying only 51kg, Jockey Daniel Moor was given the ride. With some obvious tactics by rival stables to make Zac work hard early, Moor didn’t panic taking a split between runners before entering the straight, and quickly put a margin of a couple of lengths on his rivals.

With those sent out to take Zac on beginning to feel the pinch, (and who ended up languishing in 6th and 9th place and beaten a long way), it was left to Super Fortune and Be Bee from back in the field to try and cut Zac down in the last 200m. But Moor had ridden a brilliant race, and in the end Zac Kasa prevailed by 1/2 length from the very talented Be Bee.

Zac Kasa and Daniel Moor, simply to good in the Class 1 over 1200m.

With physical and mental maturity now on his side, Zac Kasa has already more than repaid Zac Stable on their investment, and can look forward to a very exciting 2019. Results can’t be achieved without the patience of good owners, and the stable thanks the Wong’s who allow us to train and prepare Zac Kasa.With 4 wins, 4 seconds and a third from just 12 starts, Zac Spirit has already earned at tick over $535,000 for Zac stable.

 

 

A Golden Double!!

Friday the 18th was a good evening for Gold Stable winning two races, and being very unlucky in a third. Lohnro Gold and Gold Strike were the winners, with the improving Gold Company going down by only a half length after being held up badly in the straight in race 2.

The most consistent Lonhro Gold caused a boil over in race 6 the Class 3 over 1000m. Carrying only 52.5kg and with light weight jockey Barend Vorster on board, Lonhro Gold had stiff opposition with the likes of Elite Power and King Of War contesting the race. On jumping Vorster surged Lohnro Gold to his customary racing position, leading the pack and was able to give him a breather before entering the straight. At the the top of the straight Vorster kicked the son of Denman away and soon found himself 3 lengths ahead, and under hard riding he held out the fast finishing Elite Power by half a length.

Lohnro Gold proves to strong in the Class 3 over 1000m.

The win was also special for jockey Barend Vorster who is soon to depart Singapore, to ride for the powerful McEvoy stable in South Australia. Barend has been good friends with Gold Stable and has combined with Cliff on many occasions over the past decade to win races for Gold Stable. A $40,000 purchase at the Inglis Ready to race sale, Lohnro Gold had been a terrific money spinner for connections now pocketing over $187,000 in prize money.

The second leg of the Gold Stable double came courtesy of their highly promising UK import Gold Strike. Resuming after a 3 month let up, Gold Strike had to overcome a awkward wide draw in the Class 4 over 1200m. After traveling 3 and 4 wide, he came with a powerful run to overhaul the leaders and win by nearly a length and a half. With three wins from just 8 starts, the son of Ifraaj looks to have a very exciting future in Singapore.

Gold Strike makes it 3 wins from 8 starts when steaming away with the class 4 over 1200m.

 

 

 

Gold Star and Baffert get new season rolling

The second weekend of racing saw the stable saddle two winners, and get the new season off to a good start. On Friday the 11th, Gold Star trained on from an excellent debut 3rd on December 2nd, to capture the $75,000 restricted maiden over 1200m.

Jumping from an awkward barrier of 10, Michael Rodd had Gold Star settled mid field, but still trapped wide without cover. The three-year-old by Redente (x Redoute’s Choice) looked to have his work cut out being three deep for most of the way, but loomed up around the turn.

Gold Star proves to good in the Restricted Maiden over 1200m.

Gold Star, raced as Shadonte in Australia, before being purchased privately by Cliff for long time stable clients Gold Stable. With his first win Gold Star has taken his earnings to a tick under $50,0000, and looks to have a very bright future in Singapore.

The second leg of the weekend double came courtesy of stable favorite Baffert. He lined up in a Krabji Stakes C over 1200m. After three horror barriers at his past three starts, Baffert jumped from barrier 6, again with Michael Rodd in the saddle. Baffert came from a handy spot in 4th at the top of the straight, and won very easily in the end by 2 lengths after being eased down by Rodd.

Baffert proves way to strong in the Class 4 over 1200.

Baffert is raced by Forever Lucky stable, and Premier racing and all have been quite unlucky with Baffert not adding to his only win which was almost a year ago to the day. Taking his earnings past the $120,000, Baffert certainly looks to have more wins in store.

Lonhro strikes Gold on last weekend

Consistent 4 year old Denman gelding Lonhro Gold led all the way in the final race on Friday 7th of December, the class 4 over 1000m. An iron horse, Lonhro Gold was lining up for his 13th start in 2018, and had not finished further back than 5th all year.

Ridden for the first time by Apprentice N Zyrul, Lonhro Gold was quick away from the gates, and took up his customary role at the front of the field after the first 200m. A quick breather before the turn, saw Zyrul then kick away at the top of the staraight, and in a superbly judged ride Lonhro Gold was to strong in the end holding off the challenge of Reach For The Sun by a neck.

Apprentice N Zyrul gets Lonhro Gold home in the Class 4 over 1000m.

A $40,000 purchase at the Inglis 2016 Ready to Race Sale, Lonhro Gold has been a model of Consistency, having 2 wins, 4 seconds and 3 thirds from 16 starts and has amassed a tick under $150,000 in stake money. Long time stable supporters Gold Stable were delighted with the win, and look forward to 2019 season with all their horses.

Stable Quinella in Group 2 EW BARKER Trophy

Racegoers witnessed one of the best two horse wars of the season, when stablemates Mister Yeoh and Zac Kasa cleared out to make it a two horse race in the $500,000 Group 2 E W Barker Trophy on Friday evening, 9th of November. Both handicapped on the minimum 50kg for the time honored event, punters felt the Cliff Brown pair would be the two to beat, and they were spot on with the pair trading favoritism until barrier rise with Zac Kasa starting marginally in front of Mister Yeoh at $15.

From barrier rise Zac Kasa took up his customary position leading, with Dance In The Wind also up there, and Mister Yeoh with Australian Apprentice Ben Thompson riding, stalking the pair. Rounding the turn, Dance In The Wind found the going to tough and Mister Yeoh loomed up to Zac Kasa and the pair put a big break between themselves and the rest of the field. Over the last 300m in was a two horse war, with the stablemates going head to head, before Mister Yeoh got the upper hand in the last 50m.

It was Melbourne Apprentice Ben Thompson’s first Group race win, and his professionalism and willingness to follow instructions shows that he will be a force in racing in the coming years. He was accompanied in Singapore by his father Jason, who thoroughly enjoyed the trip. Zac Kasa lost no admirers in defeat, and remains one of the best 1200-1400m horses in Singapore as his Group 1 second in the Lion City Cup can attest.

Mister Yeoh and Ben Thompson get the upper hand in the shadows of the post in the EW Barker trophy.

At the end of the day it was a superb effort from both stable runners, with the 1.5kg advantage to Mister Yeoh probably the deciding factor in the end. The win in the $500,000 Group 2 feature again capped a great run for the stable in the feature races in Singapore. Two Group 1, two Group 2 and two Group 3 victories as well as multiple placing in other Group races for season 2018 is a great result, and with a host of promising horses in the stable, the feature races in 2019 will again be in the stable’s sights.

Owner Nick Turnball (2nd from right) was track side and overcome with emotion after the victory.

It was the second win for Cliff in the EW Barker Trophy with a stable favorite What Now successful in the 2012 edition under the guidance of Joao Moriera. Nick Turnball took time out of his hectic schedule to stop over in Singapore to watch the race live. Mr Turnball witnessed and made mention of another training masterclass from Cliff, and commented that he had never seen a horse glowing so much in the mounting yard.

Mister Yeoh, bred by Nick Turnball out of his mare Wai Lin, herself a daughter of Nick’s Group 1 winning filly Miss Pennymoney recorded his 4th win from just 8 starts and his second group race win in Singapore. He has now won over $671,000 in stake money and is clearly among the best 4 year old’s in Singapore.

 

Debt Collector wins Queen Elizabeth II Cup, a Royal Week!

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.

Prince Harry hugs India Brown, sending the World-Wide media into a spin!

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.

No heart failure in QEII Cup as DC and Rodd have it in their keeping at 200m.

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.

Glenn Whittenbury and friends enjoy the victory in QE II Cup.

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.

Staff enjoy celebratory banquet at the stable on Tuesday.

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.

 

Grey Race to Race Double!!

Friday the 19th of October proved a very successful night for the stable, with three runners yielding 2 wins and a third. The two winners were both grey’s with Miss Dusty bouncing back to her best form and the highly promising Zac Kasa returning to the winners stall.

The first leg of the double saw the Greg Perry bred and owned Miss Dusty return to top form with an effortless win in the class 4 over 1100m on the poly track. The wide draw of 9 in the field proved no concern with Michael Rodd having the daughter of Reliable Man quickly out of the gates and up sitting outside the leader. On straightening she quickly got the upper hand over Soldado, and shot away to win softly by nearly 3 lengths.

The win continued the great breeding record of Greg’s mare Asciano Miss, who’s progeny have all raced in Singapore. Golden Sword has won 5 races and over $230,000, Nova Swiss 6 races and a tick under $380,000 and now Miss Dusty with her second win and two second place finishes in just 5 starts has won over $110,000. Sadly Asciano Miss passed away, but she may have left the best to last with Miss Dusty sure to add to her already impressive record.

Miss Dusty blasts to victory in race 6 on Friday evening.

The second winner was Zac Kasa who reminded all at Kranji of his huge potential in winning the Kranji B over 1200m. The pre-race hype was with the favorite Bold Thruster a very impressive winner of his only 3 starts all by big margins. With a feather weight of 50kg’s and Zac Kasa carrying 55kg, the “experts” and tipsters shied away from the Brown/Rodd combination and the imposing grey beast. However, both trainer and jockey were very confident that Zac Kasa would return to his best.

The doubters were made to eat humble pie, as Zac Kasa settled beautifully for Rodd just off the speed and stalked Bold Thruster through out the early stages of the race. Entering the straight Rodd confidently gave Zac Kasa a squeeze and he began to issue his challenge, eye balling the new “boom” horse in Singapore form the 300m mark. What looked likely to be quite an epic battle over the last 250m of the race, didn’t eventuate with Zac Kasa proving way to strong, even with a 5kg difference in the weights. Zac won by nearly a length and was drawing away on the line.

The win didn’t surprise any involved with Zac Kasa least of all Cliff and Michael Rodd. Race goers should of  remembered that the usually reserved Cliff did say after Zac Kasa’s first victory that he may well be the best horse he has had in Singapore.

Zac Spirit burts the undefeated Bold Thruster’s bubble in the Kranji B over 1200m.

Special mention must be made of the dedication of B Trainer Tim Fitzsimmons, who has along with Sabri his work rider and with the help of starters John Pepe and Damian Kinnimont, worked tirelessly and professionally with Zac Kasa who was basically a barrier rogue early on in Singapore. Tim and Sabri have looked after Zac Kasa at the barriers for every one of his races and one cannot underestimate their contribution in the continuation of Zac Kasa’s improvement as a racehorse.

The Zac owned gelding has now had 3 wins, 3 seconds and a third from 9 career starts and $380,000 in prize money. Purchased by Cliff from the Newhaven Park draft at the 2016 Sydney Easter Yearling Sales, Zac Kasa looks to have a huge future in Singapore given his improving race and barrier manners. The fact he is by Victoria Derby winner Reset, one would suggest he should appreciate further ground. He will next step up to 1400m in The Group 2 $500,000 EW Barker trophy on November 9th and will look to give the stable a second win in the race after What Now (now Switzerland resident) saluted in 2012.