Exciting Bluestone goes back to back

Race 6, the Novice over 1200m on the National Day race card was billed as nearly a match race between the lightly raced three year old’s Bluestone (the winner of his only start) and the Shane Baertschiger trained Hotshots Slam a debut winner and third in the Group 2 Aushorse Golden Horeshoe. Pre-race a huge betting battle was unfolding between the two, and with nearly $450,000 in the win pool alone, it was Bluestone who won this battle, starting the popular elect at $10.

Owners Dennis Cornwell and Tony Davies were quietly confident before the race and were joined track side by their wives Andrea and Trish. Tony’s son Kyle (who recently turned 18) was at his first race meeting in Singapore. Normally a figure of sartorial elegance, Mr Cornwell was seen to be pacing around the saddling enclosure, either a little flustered at Bluestone’s price or walking off a few nerves.

Alysha Collett, back in Singapore for the past two weeks after recuperating from a bad fall on October 14 last year, was entrusted with the ride. With an awkward barrier in 8 to contend with, as Bluestone’s main rival had drew well in 3, Collett would need to be at her best to notch up her comeback victory.

From barrier rise Collett had Bluestone out quickly but as expected Hotshots Slam (Matthew Kellady) from his good gate drove to the lead down the back straight opening up to a two length break at one stage. Collett however kept Bluestone handy to the leader, not letting him gain any convincing lead. As they neared the home turn, Bluestone was allowed to stride up to leader and looked to be traveling better.

Putting paid to Hotshots Slam quickly at the top of the straight, it was obvious the two horse war punters expected was not going to eventuate. When Collett asked Bluestone for his final effort he steadily forged to the front and under hands and heels riding he had a length to spare in the finish over Paris Time, but the exciting three year old did seem to have a bit left up his sleeve and it was a soft victory in the end.

Bluestone surges to the lead in the 1200m Novice on Friday 9th August.

Long time friends and clients of the stable, Dennis, Andrea, Tony, Trish and Kyle roared their son of Hallowed Crown home. Both Dennis and Tony have been great supporters of the stable having had shares in quite a few horses over the past few years with only moderate success. Mind you, both are seriously wealthy and always choose the cheapest syndication option amongst the stables yearling purchases, so it’s not all the stables fault. Further, Dennis could stop a Tsunami if he backed it hitting a coast somewhere.

Trish, Kyle and Tony Davies along with Dennis and Andrea Cornwell pose with their promising 3 year old Bluestone.

In fact, Tony was rudely left out of a previous syndication formed by Cornwell. Whether this was an act of selfishness or an innocent oversight has yet to be determined. Tony however, has had the last laugh as now a part owner of the promising Bluestone. The horse he was not offered a share in, well it turned out to be, well……..slow and very disappointing. I’m sure the boys celebrated quite hard, and there is a rumour that Andrea hopped into the champagne at home and was cast on the couch by 10pm. But that rumour has neither been rejected or confirmed by Andrea herself.

Cliff in Melbourne on family business, watched the race and was delighted with the win but more so for Dennis, Tony and other part owner Richard Pegum. Richard previously raced the handy galloper Foxtrot Hotel trained by Cliff in Singapore.

Costing A$40,000 as a yearling at the 2018 Inglis Classic Sale, Bluestone has already won in excess of $80,000 in prize money for the Bluestone Stable headed by Dennis Cornwell. He looks to have a very bright future. Dennis is also great friends with Glenn Whittenbury who has the undefeated 3 year old Inferno (also 2wins from 2 starts), and there is sure to be some friendly banter between the two as Cliff charts both horses futures.

Inferno brilliantly wins G2 Golden Horseshoe

The much anticipated final leg of the two year series in Singapore, the $250,000 Group 2 Aushorse Golden Horseshoe (1200m) was held on Friday July 19th. One of the few feature races to elude the stable, hopes of winning the 2019 edition were somewhat dampened when the stables sole representative Inferno drew barrier 17.

An impressive debut winner in the fourth leg, the Magic Millions 2YOs In Training Sale Stakes (1200m) 12 days prior, the Barree Stable owned son of Holy Roman Emperor not only had to contend with the wide draw but 15 juvenile rivals five of which were last start winners.

From barrier rise Michael Rodd sat midfield three to four deep as the speed inside him didn’t give him the option of  getting Inferno anywhere near the fence. Although trapped wide Inferno was traveling beautifully and had got into a nice rhythm at the same time avoiding any trouble. Beer Garden made the running at a nice tempo, while Hotshots Slam who actually started favourite, was right on the speed.

Entering the straight, Rodd had Inferno poised to make his bid, and when asked for his effort he exploded with such a turn of foot, that Rodd had the leaders covered and hit the front nearly 250m from home. Those of us in the stands thought he had hit the front to early, but after a short battle with Hotshot Slam Inferno was just far to superior and actually was drawing away again on the line to win by 2 lengths from Rocket Star who made ground late but was never a winning chance. The other favored runner undefeated at his first two runs, Big Hearted bungled the start, running well for fifth but there really was no excuses for any runner, as Inferno himself was posted wide the whole way.

Inferno scores an empahtic win in the G2 Golden Horseshoe.

Barree Stable managing owner Glenn Whittenbury was on track to enjoy the win. Glenn of course is best known for owning stable and Singapore star Debt Collector, who left Singapore in June returning to Australia. Whilst comparisons are somewhat premature, Inferno does seem to have a turn of foot reminiscent of  the mighty DC, and Mr Whittenbury will no doubt be seen in Singapore in the future to see his horses run, with the headline act at this stage being Inferno.

Glenn and friends enjoy the win.

Glenn was joined by friends Paul Robbins, Dennis Cornwell and Tony Davies in the winners enclosure post race. Dennis and Tony were in great spirits as earlier in the evening their 2 year old debutante Bluestone was a most impressive winner of the restricted maiden over 1100m.

Dennis “The Anchor” Cornwell and Tony Davies were trackside to watch their horse Bluestone win easily on debut.

The Group 2 win was the stable’s fifth feature race win of the year, along with placings in the Singapore Guineas (Elite Incredible 2nd), The Lion City Cup (Mister Yeoh 3rd) as well as 4th’s in the Kranji Mile (Debt Collector) and the Derby (What’s New). The stable continues to be at forefront in Singapore’s feature races, and Inferno with a Group 2 win at just his second start, looks set to play a major role in major races in the future.

Inferno clocked 1min 10.76secs for the 1200m on the Short Course. By Holy Roman Emperor, he should also enjoy longer distances as he matures. He may next be seen in November with the Group 3 Saas Fee Stakes now a three year old event.


Inferno scorches the Turf on debut

Barree stable look to have another promising horse on their hands when Inferno took out the $75,000 Magic Millions 2YOs in Training Sale Stakes (1200m) on Sunday 7th of July at his race track debut. The $140,000 purchase from the 2018  NZB Karaka Yearling Sale was taking 11 rivals and some talented 2 year old’s most of whom had race experience.

With Michael Rodd aboard, Inferno ($36), was kept safe in the market with Ricardo Le Grange Rocket Star a short price favorite after a dominant last start win. Jumping from the awkward barrier 11, Rodd allowed the big boy time to get balanced and had him 3 wide in clear galloping room with only 3 behind him. Given more rein from the 600m, Rodd allowed the big striding son of Holy Roman Emperor to cruise around the turn.

On straightening Rodd pushed the button and Inferno showed a great turn of foot to quickly gather in the field. Though still green and laying in under pressure, he pulled away to a most dominant debut win. The winning margin was two lengths with Beer Garden (John Powell) third another 1 ¾ lengths away. The winning time was 1min 10.57secs for the 1200m on the Short Course.

Rodd and Barree strike again with 2 year old Inferno.

“He’s a lovely ready-made horse.” said Brown.” Rodd said that Inferno was not a stereotypical two-year-old, and even if the win was recorded in devastating style, he still had to earn his stripes in stiffer tests down the road.

Inferno returns after a fabulous debut win.

Providing the handsome son of Holy Roman Emperor pulls up well, he will contest the Aushorse Golden Horseshoe over 1200m on July 19th. Owner Glenn Whittenbury will make the trip to watch his latest winner contest the Group 2 event. Inferno certainly looks like a horse that will improve as he matures, and being by Holy Roman Emperor he should also appreciate a rise in distance as he gets older.

What’s New victorious in Group 2 Stewards Cup

The Greg Perry owned and bred What’s New took out the second leg of the four year old series, with an emphatic win in the $400,000 Group 2 Stewards Cup. Following on from her Group 3 win at her previous start, jockey Ben Thompson was given the task of handling the Casino Prince mare. After drawing dreadfully in barrier 14, Thompson produced one of the rides of the year to get the Stewards Cup prize and in so doing added further valuable black type for What’s New.

From barrier rise there was an early mad rush from horses drawn inside What’s New which enabled Thompson in the first 200m to drop What’s New nicely onto the rails with the mare doing little work to get there. What’s New was effectively in the same economical rails-hugging position, except that she was a few spots further back from the cushy box-seat she enjoyed in the Silver Bowl.

What’s New surges through the field.

Thompson bided his time and shortly after straightening for the run home, he angled What’s New out for the run to the finish. The bonnie little mare darted through and kept finding as she wore down those in front of her and forged away to win by nearly a length on the line. Sacred Croix let down late to fall short by a length for the same Silver Bowl quinella.

It’s in the bag!! Ben Thompson and What’s New claim the Group 2 $400,000 Stewards Cup.

Ben Thompson has had great success with the stable. Ben took out winning the Group 2 EW Barker Trophy (1600m) aboard Mister Yeoh at a hit-and-run visit last November. Now permanently based in Singapore, he landing the Group 3 Moonbeam Vase (1600m) on Elite Excalibur in May, and now the Stewards Cup on What’s New. In a special day for Ben, his girlfriend Stephanie Thornton was on track to see the win, and also collected the Owner’s Trophy for Tarnpirr stable.

Ben, his girlfriend Stephanie Thornton and Cliff with the Stewards Cup Trophies.

As a winner of the first two Legs, owner Greg Perry picks up a bonus of $50,000 which will treble if she completes the clean sweep in the Group 1 Singapore Derby (1800m) on July 21. However, a decision on whether she will contest the Derby will be made closer to the race by Greg and Cliff.

With that sixth win and another seven placings from 16 starts, What’s New has now amassed more than $550,000 for owners Greg and Lisa Perry, excluding the $50,000 bonus for winning the two Legs. What’s New’s mother Pussycat Dream this week traveled from her NZ base Kilmore Farm to Australia, where she will have a date with Darley Stallion Pierro. She also has a Tavistock two year in training in Australia retained by Greenwich Stud (Greg and Lisa Perry), whilst the stable in partnership with Greenwich Stud were able to secure the yearling half brother to What’s New by El Roca at the NZB Karaka Yearling Sale in January.

Greg Perry’s mare Pussycat Dream has a date with Pierro later this year.

Farewell Debt Collector. What a Journey.

The Singapore chapter of an incredible racing journey will come to end on June 22nd with the Barree Pastoral Co. owned champion Debt Collector to return to Australia. The son of Thorn Park leaves Singapore a winner of 12 races including 5 group 1 victories and a tick under $3.15 million in stake money.  The racing journey has seen DC rack up the frequent flier points with him traveling from New Zealand to Singapore, Singapore to Dubai, Dubai to Singapore, Singapore to Australia, Australia to Singapore and now Singapore to Australia again! On arrival back in Australia, Debt Collector will be under the care of trainer Jim Conlan at the private training and spelling facility Pinecliff located on the Mornington Peninsula.

Lot 112 at the NZB Ready to Race Sale. This young colt would become Debt Collector.

Purchased at the NZB Ready to Race Sales by Cliff for $120,000 back in 2014, DC took until his 4th Singapore start to open his account in a restricted maiden over 1600m on the 27th of November 2015. It wasn’t until his first up run in April 2016 when steaming home under Vlad Duric in a class 4 over 1400m, that the stable knew they had a galloper of above average ability. Victories at his next two runs in the Group 2 Three Year Old Classic and the Group 1 Singapore Guineas confirmed the stable’s high opinion of Debt Collector and saw him crowned Champion 3 year old for 2016.

With three wins on the trot, Debt Collector returned as a four year old in September 2016 winning first up in the Group 3 Jumbo Jet Trophy and then claiming the Group 1 Kranji Mile and the Group 1 Raffles Cup. The 2016 Racing Awards became the “Debt Collector Benefit” winning Champion Horse of the year, Champion Miler, Champion Three Year Old, Most Improved Horse and Social Media Horse of the Year. Season 2017 started where 2016 finished off with a first up win in the Canada Cup making it 8 straight wins in a row.

A surprise defeat came on the 3rd of March 2017 with DC running third behind Jupiter Gold. A Veterinary examination revealed DC had pulled up with respiratory distress. A creditable run in Dubai against the world’s best followed, with DC returning for the four year old series in Singapore. After a 4th and a 6th in the first two legs, DC was given a break. A close up second when resuming in the Jumbo Jet trophy was followed by a 3rd in the Kranji Mile and a 6th in the 2017 Raffles Cup. All creditable performances, but respiratory problems had again surfaced, and Cliff and Glenn decided he needed a complete break from racing in Singapore. Debt Collector was spelled in Australia at Newhaven Park Stud from December 2017 and landed back in Singapore in May 2018.

After a first up 2nd in the 2018 Group 3 Jumbo Jet Trophy after nearly 10 months off the scene, the most emotional victory for team DC was his incredible win in the 2018 Raffles Cup. DC and Michael Rodd spotted the field some 12 lengths on the turn, but racegoers witnessed one of the most incredible last 400m unleashed at the Kranji Racecourse as DC and Rodd returned to Group 1 glory. That victory justified the decision by Cliff and Glenn to spell Debt Collector back in Australia as he returned a bigger, stronger thoroughbred. Further glory followed quickly like “the cheery on top” as DC delivered some 30 days later with Glenn track side once again to watch his equine pride and joy make it back-to-back Group 1’s in the 2018 Queen Elizabeth 11 Cup. The 2018 Racing Awards saw Debt Collector collect another two awards, Champion Miler and Champion Older Horse.

DC steams home to claim his second Raffles Cup.

Back to back Group 1 wins with the QE 11 Cup.

Season 2019 again witnessed another incredible first up win by Debt Collector, this time carrying 59kg in a class 1 over 1400m in March with the best field assembled in Singapore for many a year. Giving every other runner weight, DC again again produced an amazing last 400m to defy all challengers. The $500,000 Group 2 Chairman’s Trophy followed, making it a 4th win in a row since his holiday in Australia. A gallant fourth in The Group 1 Kranji Mile on May 25th, with DC again running the quickest last 400m sectional was to be his last run in Singapore. The DC inner sanctum, aware of a return of the respiratory issues that plagued the champ in 2017 had returned, made the decision to lower the curtain on his time racing in Singapore.

DC and Rodd surge again to take the 2019 Chairman’s Trophy

Whilst the racing public witness Debt Collector’s incredible race track deeds, an enormous amount of hard work, effort and planning goes on behind the scenes. All stable employees have played a part in Debt Collector’s success, but a small group of dedicated staff with regular race rider Michael Rodd have helped to prepare the champ over the years. Mohd. Shahrul (boy as he affectionately known) has been Debt Collector’s long time Syce. His dedication, hours of grooming walking, icing and general care of DC is most certainly worthy of mention as, well, DC only tolerates humans rather than likes them.

Senior track rider Sabri Embee has worked for Cliff for the past 10 years, and has ridden DC in all his work since the horses arrival in Singapore. Regular race rider Michael Rodd has been an integral part of the journey and team DC. We have all witnessed Michael’s magnificent race rides and victories, but the hard work and graft in the early hours of the mornings have been just as important.

Others to pay an integral part in DC’s success are Singapore Turf Club Veterinarian Dan Shaw, who has looked after Debt Collector through out his entire time in Singapore, Equine Masseur Jacki Harrison and farrier’s Rory McDonald and Callum Geddes.

Trackrider Sabri Embee returns to stable with DC.

DC’s faithful syce Mohammed Shahrul (Boy).

Final mention of the behind the scenes management must go to Cliff. Debt Collector has not only showcased his talents as a trainer, but has again showed that with patience and skill and always putting the horse first, ultimate success can be achieved. Ably assisted by B Trainer Tim Fitszimmons, the pair have overseen the meteoric rise of Debt Collector, from an immature 2 year old to a Horse of the year, and in our eyes through his deeds since his return to Singapore in 2018, a Champion. It most certainly hasn’t been all smooth sailing particularly since the middle of 2017 as health issues and the limitations of training in Singapore provided enormous challenges. But with meticulous planning, attention to detail and a lot of hard work the DC journey has become one we will never forget. I have absolutely no doubt that Debt Collector would not of achieved the race track success he has if he wasn’t in the Cliff Brown Stable.

A happy team.

DC’s racing journey has not just been made up of the races in which he competed, the glory of Group 1 and other Group victories nor the prize money he has won. What Debt Collector has also done is cement the many friendships that owners Glenn and Bryce Whittenbury have made here in Singapore. Nick Johnston and Paul Robbins made the trip to Dubai to watch him run, Dennis Cornwell filled in for Glenn collecting the 2018 Raffles Cup in Glenn’s absence. These gentlemen who have attended most of his races have been joined along the way with Glenn’s friends and relatives from Australia, and along with many others at times over the last 4 years, have all hopped on and experienced the DC bandwagon, enjoyed the thrilling ride, and some most memorable celebrations that have followed.

DC celebrations!!

Paul, Dennis and Nick, Debt Collector regulars.

Glenn celebrating another win victory.

Finally, there still may be a chapter or two left in the Debt Collector story. Cliff’s great friend Jim Conlan, a wonderful horseman and trainer will take charge of DC in Australia. Time will tell if he graces the race tracks in Australia. Our sincere thanks to Glenn who has allowed Cliff to chart DC’s path and manage him over the past five years. Without this owner/trainer relationship and the fact that they both always put Debt Collector well being first, he wouldn’t be leaving Singapore in such fine fettle.

Farewell DC.

DC as we’ll always remember him, surveying his Kranji Kingdom.

What’s New? Another Group winner for Stable.

The Greg Perry owned and bred What’s New become the latest Group winner produced from the Cliff Brown yard when taking out the first leg of the 4 year old series, the Group 3 $175,000 Silver Bowl over 1400m on the 9th of June.

The first foal by Casino Prince out of Greg’s imported mare Pussycat Dream had already chalked up 4 wins and 4 seconds from her 14 Singapore starts and boasted excellent form at her last two starts in class 2 company – two closing thirds to Mikki Joy (1600m) and the highly fancied Silver Bowl runner Circuit Mission (1800m).

It was then with some bemusement from the stable that What’s New started at $398 for the win when the barriers opened. Ridden by the latest dux of the South Australian Apprentice Academy Raquel Clark, the race panned beautifully for both girls as Clark had What’s New in a lovely position from the jump, and the diminutive mare travelling in a comfortable rhythm.

After travelling the to the turn in the box seat, Clark showing great poise that belied her age, the winner of over 300 races between Adelaide and Tasmania didn’t panic and waited for a gap too present itself at the 300m. She then gave What’s New her head and she sprinted hard to collar race leader Eagle Eye easily and hold off Sacred Croix who battled on into second place. The winning time was 1min 22secs for the 1400m on the Long Course.

GIRL POWER!! What’s New and Raquel Clark storm to the front in the Group 3 1400m S$175,000 the Silver Bowl.

The win was especially satisfying for the stable with an association of over 20 years with Australian owner/breeder Mr Greg Perry. Greg has been an enormous supporter of the stable over the years, and raced many horses in Singapore including Tenzing, Merchant and more recently Miss Dusty.

Stable representative Paul Robbins accepts the Silver Bowl Trophy on behalf of What’s New owner and breeder Mr Greg Parry

What’s New has now taken her record to an impressive 5 wins, 4 seconds, 3 thirds from just 15 career starts and prize money of A tick over $327,000.


Despacito made a one act affair of the final race on Sunday 19th by taking out the class 4 over 1200m. The stable was very confident given his excellent lead up work, and the fact that he was in a most suitable race. Whilst not having won for a while Despacito had been mixing his form, but also given his racing pattern had not had the best of luck in quite a few of his recent races.

Ridden by Michael Rodd, Despacito settled back in his customary position at the rear of the field. Rounding the bend Rodd had the son of Falkirk traveling sweetly as he circled the field and it was obvious from the top of the straight that Despacito had them covered. Despacito won by a length on the line to the delight of favorite backers who obviously had done their form.

Michael Rodd and Despacito easily win the last race on the programme, the Class 4 over 1200m.

A horse blessed with plenty of ability, Despacito who originally raced as Draco under the Olympian Stable banner has taken his record to 5 wins, 5 seconds from 24 starts and stake money of $267,000 in his Singapore racing career.

On hand at the track to enjoy the victory was long time stable client and friend Peter Lee who enjoyed the win with a number of friends. Among the horses Peter has raced with the stable was Laughing Gravy who won the the Group 1 Queen Elizebeth 11 Cup in 2016 and ran second in the same race the following year.

Winning Owner Peter Lee (second from left) with Despacito after winning the last race on Sunday 19th

Despacito made it a double for the weekend, as the highly promising 4 year old Gold Strike won the last on Friday night. Drawing badly, a well devised and executed plan had Michael Rodd drop Gold Strike back early in the race and and have the last crack at them in the straight. Making up some 12 lengths on the long course, the Gold Stable owned son of Ifraaj steamed home over the top of the well fancied Trapio to notch  his 4th win from only 10 starts.

Michael Rodd steers Gold Strike to a most impressive win in the Class 4 1400m on Friday 17th May.

Gold Dust Weekend

The weekends racing brought up an nice double with two very consistent horses notching up wins. Both 4 year old’s Lonhro Gold and Miss Dusty are among the most consistent runners in the stable.

Race 8 on Friday evening saw Apprentice N Zyrul re-untied with Lohnro Gold after winning on him in December 2018. Jumping from the awkward barrier of 12, Zyrul had Lohnro Gold quickly out of the gates, and taking up his customary role of leader. A breather mid race saw the son of Denman straighten and then kick hard to defy all comers and win by the comfortable margin of nearly a length on the line in the class 4 race over 1000m

Racing in the famous colours of Yong Nam Seng’s Gold Stable, Lohnro Gold has had 24 starts 4 wins, 4 seconds and 3 thirds for $214,000 in prize money. A great return on his $40,000 purchase price at the 2017 Sydney Inglis Ready To race sale.

Apprentice N Zyrul wins his second race aboard Lohnro Gold on Friday 10th May

Sunday the 12th of May saw the stable saddle 7 runners. With 2 seconds and 2 thirds in earlier races Miss Dusty lined up in Race 9 and was the final runner for the day. Sent out the $20 favorite, Miss Dusty had to overcome a wide draw and a field of good depth.

A gun ride from Michael Rodd saw the grey mare beautifully positioned after 200m cruising in 4th place. Given plenty of room at the top of the straight Miss Dusty soon began to challenge the leaders and bounded away to the winning post to score by 1 ¼ lengths from Kiss Your Song with Kolombia running into third. The winning time was 1min 4.9secs for the 1100m on the Polytrack.

Miss Dusty wins her 4th race from jut 10 starts in the Class 3 over 1100m.

Bred and owned by Greg Parry, Miss Dusty racing in the famous Brown Tarnpirr Colours has taken her record to 10 starts for 4 wins and ran second 3 times and taken her prize money to a tick over $200,000. Miss Dusty’s dam Asciano Miss has proved a great performer in Singapore with all three of her progeny multiple winners in Singapore. Golden Sword (by Swiss Ace) has won 5 races and $262,000 and Nova Swiss (also by Swiss Ace) has won 6 races and $369,000.


G3 Moonbeam Vase for Bobby, 500 Singapore winners for Cliff

One of the few pieces of Silverware that has eluded the stable, the Group 3 Moonbeam Vase (1600m), was won by Elite Excalibur on Sunday May 5th, and in doing so also notched up Cliff’s 500th winner in Singapore, since relocating from his Flemington base in 2008. Elite Excalibur or “Bobby” as he is affectionately named sent a stark reminder he was still a major force to be reckoned with in Singapore’s upcoming feature races with a brilliant turn of foot to win his second feature race in Singapore.

With a brilliant first up record and great 1600m form the stable was quietly confident Elite Excalibur would run a huge race in the Moonbeam Vase. The Moonbeam Vase was targeted long ago as Elite Excalibur’s comeback race and an ideal stepping stone to another tilt at the Kranji Mile on May 25th.

With some minor issues post the Singapore Gold Cup having been rectified, racegoers witnessed yet another display of Cliff’s training talents with “Bobby” first up for 6 months, produced a devastating burst over the final 300m, to claim yet another feature race for Cliff Brown Racing.

With Ben Thompson on board, Elite Excalibur was allowed to find his feet early in the race, settling a little worse than mid field. Eye Guy took up the running and kicked clear at the top of the straight. With an upset in the air with King Louis finding trouble, Preditor having too much ground to make up and Mikki Joy feeling the pinch at the 200m, it was left to Elite Excalibur, who was weaving his way through the traffic, to issue the challenge to Eye Guy.

Pinning his ears back, Bobby kicked hard on the inside of Eye Guy and inside the last 100m he gained the upperhand to win by half-a-length. Blizzard (Daniel Moor) ran on for third place another length away. The race time of 1.33.62 was only 0.34 second outside the course record established by Magneto in 2014.

A thrilled Ben Thompson drives “Bobby” to Victory.

The former Coolmore-owned and Gai Waterhouse-trained three-time Sydney winner (when known as River Wild) was purchased privately for Elite Performance Stable, and has been close up in many Singapore feature races, notably beaten a head in the 2017 Patrons Bowl and Singapore Gold Cup.The Moonbeam Vase win was very very sweet for all involved.

Winning Connections enjoy the Moonbeam Vase Trophy presentation.

Elite Excalibur returned to scale to jubilant scenes as the throng of people connected with Elite Performance Stable swarmed around him, eager to get in the winning photo. Jockey Ben Thompson secured his second feature win in Singapore, and was delighted to have his parents on track to witness his Moonbeam Triumph.

With that fourth win, Elite Excalibur has now amassed in excess of $780,000 in stakes earnings for the Elite Performance Stable. He will join stable star Debt Collector in the Kranji Mile on May 25th, when some highly credentialed imports will take on the best in Singapore.

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.