It’s an old adage that racing is a game of highs and lows. On Saturday March 10th evening, Gilt Complex lined up in the Group 2 Dubai City Of Gold Cup at Meydan in Dubai. After two lead up runs, Gilt Complex had been working extremely well, and the stable was very excited to see how he raced, particularly as he was stepping out to 2400m for the first time.
As the race was starting to unfold Gilt Complex was starting a move towards the leading division when suddenly rider Adrie De Vries pulled him up, with obviously something going amiss with the son of Gold Centre. News filtered back soon after the race, that Gilt Complex had broken down badly in a hind pastern and had to be euthanized.
Crowned Champion Stayer for 2017, Gilt Complex won eight races, including the Group 1 Dester Singapore Gold Cup (2200m) and the Group 1 Raffles Cup (1800m), and was placed eight times from 30 starts at Kranji, amassing more than $1.5 million in stakes money. He was crowned Singapore Champion Stayer for 2017.
Our condolences to owners Graham Mackie and Trish Dunell, who have been long time supporters of Singapore racing. Our thanks also to Jacqueline Harrison who was with Gilt Complex throughout his time in Dubai, and who felt his loss probably harder than anyone. A sad day for all, but Gilt Complex provided all with some incredible thrills culminating in his 2017 Singapore Gold Cup victory, a race that many observers believe has been the most exciting race staged at Kranji.
Elite Excalibur scored his first Group win in Singapore when taking out the Group 3 Committee’s Prize over 1600m on Sunday 18th March. First up since his gallant effort in the 2017 Singapore Gold Cup when beaten a half head into third, “Bobby” as he is affectionately known built on his tremendous first up record in Singapore when downing the Mark Walker trained Elite Invincible.
With a difficult barrier to contend with, Michael Rodd produced a gem of a ride. Rodd had Bobby traveling nicely in mid field and was stalking Infantry the whole way. As the field turned for home Elite Excalibur was brought to the outside and produced a great sprint. Elite Invincible tried hard to defy Elite Excalibur, but in the end Bobby was to strong and finally had the luck go his way to land his first feature event.
With three Group 1 placings in 2017: 2nd in the Patron’s Bowl, 2nd in the Raffles Cup and 3rd in the Singapore Gold Cup, no one could begrudge Elite Stable and Bobby their victory in the Committee’s Prize which attracted the best horses in Singapore including 3 Derby winners, and the mighty Infantry Horse Of The Year in 2017. This win again underlines Elite Excalibur’s class, and he’ll prove hard to beat in many of the feature races this year.
With his third win in Singapore, and a host of big race placing’s, Elite Excalibur has now taken his earnings to a tick over $625,000 for Elite Stable.
Earlier in the day, the stable produced a very promising addition to the stable when Mr Yeoh demolished the field in the Class 4 over 1200m. Having done everything right in the build up to his Singapore debut, the stable were confident of victory, but the 7 and 1/4 length margin of victory has now seen a change of plans and Mr Yeoh will now contest the first leg of the 3 year old series on Friday March 30th.
Bred by Australian owner Nick Turnball, Mr Yeoh carried the same colours as the very promising Swiss Ace gelding Fitzroy, who unfortunately died last year after an accident at the spelling station.
Highly regarded 3 year old Reset gelding, Zac Kasa made a triumphant return to the races winning the restricted maiden over 1200m on Sunday 4th of March. Having not raced since his debut 3rd on the 15th of October, Zac had proved quite troublesome with his barrier manners and has caused the stable quite a few headaches. However, B trainer Tim Fitzsimmons along with Turf Club starters Damian Kinnimon and John Pepe have worked tirelessly with Zac and their hard work paid off on Sunday.
A $220000 Easter Yearling purchase by Cliff, Zac Kasa is owned and races in the same colours as two time Singapore Champion Sprinter Zac Spirit. Mr Andy Wong of Zac Stable was on hand with friends to watch Zac Kasa win at only his second race start.
With an easy 5 length trial victory on February 22nd, Zac Kasa started a short priced favorite in the restricted maiden. Loading quickly and standing well in the gates, once the barriers were open Zac began brilliant and quickly took up the lead. Following him was the second elect Lim’s Zoom who looked to stalk Zac Kasa’s every move. By the time the leading pair had hit the straight they had gapped the rest of the field. At the 200m Lim’s Zoom challenged hard but Michael Rodd had enough up his sleeve with Zac Kasa and he held on to win by 1.3 lengths with a further 5 lengths back to the 3rd horse.
The relief was palapable after the race, as the stable have known for some time that Zac Kasa possesses enormous ability and it was just a matter of time for him to reproduce it at the races. The three year old series now awaits Zac Kasa, and being by Reset, one would suggest that as the distances get longer he will only get better.
Whilst a record of 1 win from 22 starts (including 2 seconds and 2 thirds) in Singapore perhaps isn’t a glowing resume, a closer look at the form of Sunday’s Class 3 winner (and now class record holder) Tales of Summer actually paints a picture of a very consistent horse. In fact, prior to Tales Of Summer’s stunning victory in Race 7 on Sunday 11th, in only 4 out of 22 starts had he finished worse than 6th.
Sent to race in Singapore from Western Australia by owner Mark Chadwick, Tales of Summer was a winner of 4 races in Perth, and paid the penalty of this when given an opening class 3 rating of 67 before continuing his racing career in Singapore. This rating combined with taking a little longer to acclimatize than a lot of other horses, didn’t see the handsome chestnut show glimpses of his Perth form until late 2016.
Resuming after a short let up, Tales Of Summer was the rank outsider in race 7 the Class 3 over 1200m as he again found himself in class 3 company courtesy of the Singapore Turf Club’s initiative to raise all horse 5 rating points at the start of the season. Unperturbed by this was stable apprentice K Nuh who knows Tales of Summer back to front having ridden him in many gallops and trials. Given the simple instructions to go out and enjoy himself, Roy as he is known did exactly that.
A brilliant beginning saw Tales Of Summer hit the ground running and quickly stride to the lead. Slapped down the shoulder at the top of the straight the son of Tale Of The Cat kicked clear and it was catch me if you can, as his higher rated opponents tried to eat into his lead. But K Nuh had timed it to perfection, and running strongly to the line Tales Of Summer had a length to spare over Lim’s Dashing and the heavily backed and highly touted Paprazzi.
A clearly elated Nuh gave a huge wave of the whip as he posted his second victory as a jockey leaving the likes of champion riders Rodd, Duric and Boss to eat his dust. With his second win Tales Of Summer has now taken his earnings to a tick over $112,000. Further sizzling displays should again see both horse and rider in the winners circle again.
Greg Perry’s mare Pussycat Dream had a stint in Singapore after winning her only start in the UK. With a lovely pedigree it was decided by both Greg and Cliff that she would not race in Singapore and she returned to Australia to become part of Greg’s wonderful broodmare band. Pussycat Dream’s first mating was with Casino Prince and the resultant offspring was named What’s New and sent to Singapore in 2017 for her racing career.
On Friday 19th, at her only her second start, What’s New proved way to classy to score an emphatic 2.5 length win in the restricted maiden over 1200m. Placing 2nd at her first start in late October, Cliff again showed his renowned patience before producing the filly for her second start.
Jumping from barrier 9, jockey Michael Rodd allowed What’s New to find her feet and she settled in a nice rhythm a little worse than mid field. Coming to the turn, Rodd angled What’s New to the outside and she still had about 5 lengths to make up on the leading division.
Given her head, What’s New cruised up to the leaders and quickly found the lead at he 200m mark. After a rally from Kiss Your Song, What’s New’s class kicked in a she steamed away for a very soft win. The ease of her victory suggests that she has a very promising future, as Michel Rodd concluded after her second trial in Singapore “she’s above average this girl”.
After a couple of minor placings at the first two meetings of the new season, the stable roared into life with a treble on Friday 12th of January from just 4 runners. The Gold Stable owned Kranji Gold in race 2 was the runner to miss out, but ran an excellent race to finish second. Gold stable didn’t have to wait long to enjoy a win with Golden Sword winning his second race in a row in race 6, the class 3 division 1 over 1200m on the poly track.
Golden Sword unleashed a powerful finish from well back in the field to prevail by a nose over the heavily backed Augustano. With his win, Golden Sword has now taken his record to 5 wins, a second two thirds from just 13 starts and has amassed a tick under $210,000 in prize money.
The second leg of the treble saw the very promising Draco demolish a very good field in the second division of the class 3 1200m. Taking up his customary position at the tail of the field, Michael Rodd had the big bay traveling sweetly before pulling him wide to commence a run at the 500m. In a great turn of foot Draco stormed away to a most commanding win by just over two lengths. With 4 wins and 4 seconds from 12 starts and now over $210,000 in prize money, Draco is certainly a horse going places.
The Rod Hyland and Premier Racing owned Baffert, put the writing on he wall with an excellent barrier trial last week when wearing blinkers last week. He lined up in the last race on Friday, a class 4 over 1100m. Awkwardly placed rounding the home turn, Rodd was able to angle the big bay out and once he saw daylight he sprinted clear for a very strong win.
Owner Rod Hyland was on hand to witness his first winner in Singapore, as were members of the Premier Racing Syndicate who race Baffert. It was a case of patience rewarded as some niggling issues meant that Baffert’s Singapore debut was put on hold. Now in form, the ease of his win suggests that it wont be long before he visits the winning stall again.
The Singapore Racing Awards for season 2017, were held at a gala function at St Regis Hotel on Monday January 8th. The stable had a number of nominations in various categories, and at the end of the evening Gilt Complex was rewarded for his superb end to the season which culminated in back to back Group 1 victories in the Raffles Cup and Singapore Gold Cup.
Gilt Complex was crowned Champion Stayer and Champion Older Horse, as well as taking out the award for the Most Improved Horse for the year 2017.
Our congratulations to owners Graham Mackie and Trish Dunell for their year with Gilt Complex, and continued support of Cliff Brown Racing. In a huge team effort the stable was represented by Assistant trainer Tim Fitzsimmons and jockey Michael Rodd as well as other owners and friends. Cliff was on the Gold Coast looking for the next super star at the Magic Millions yearling sale.
Gilt Complex will head to Dubai at the end on January for a number of races, and if his performances warrant it, he may run on Dubai World Cup night in the Dubai Gold Cup over 3200m.
Stable Star and 2016 Singapore Horse of the Year Debt Collector arrived earlier this week at the famous Kelly owned Newhaven Park Stud to commence his spell in Australia. Having served two weeks Quarantine in Singapore, Debt Collector had to spend a further two weeks Quarantine in Melbourne before taking the road trip to Newhaven Park Stud.
Newhaven Park Stud has been a family owned and run stud for four generations and has been the nursery for many Champions of the Australian Turf. The farm is famous with it’s connection to perhaps the most significant Stallion making race in Australia the Golden Slipper. They have bred 4 Slipper winners (Prowl, Burst, Vivachi and John’s Hope), owned another winner (Maruading) and have stood 3 more winners (Luskin Star, Maurading and Tierce). As well as this Newhaven have bred an/or owned another 12 Slipper placegetters.
Debt Collector is following a similar path to former stable mate Zac Spirit who was sent to Newhaven Stud for a spell in late 2015, before returning to Singapore to claim a second Group 1 Lion City Cup and Singapore Champion Sprinter Award in 2016. Bred, raised and sold by Newhaven Park, Zac Spirit is now enjoying a magnificent retirement at Newhaven Park.
Debt Collector will no doubt enjoy the lush and tranquil surrounds of Newhaven Park Stud over the next few months, and is very fortunate to have owner Glenn Whitennbury who always does things in he best interest of his horses. We look forward to DC’s return mid year for a tilt at the Triple Crown later in 2018.
Long time stable client Greg Perry had no hesitation in naming giant Swiss Ace gelding Clokey after the hulking Western Bulldogs player Travis Cloke who joined the bulldogs at the start of 2016. Purchased by Cliff at The New Zealand Bloodstock Yearling Sales in 2015 for $35,000, Clokey was left in NZ to grow into his enormous frame and didn’t arrive in Singapore until November 2016. Once here he has been patiently handled, and was turned out a few times as he still had to mature into his massive frame.
After two excellent trials, Clokey was well in the market for his debut jumping at the quote of $21. Michael Rodd had Clokey out of the gates quickly taking advantage of his good barrier of 3. Sitting second behind High Limited until the turn, Clokey eased off heels and a line of 4 set sail for the finish. Clokey showing great tenacity quickly fought of his challengers and had a widening length to spare on the line. A promising future awaits Clokey as he still has much to learn about the racing caper, and with a giant stride he may well get over ground later in his career.
The second leg of the Swiss Ace double saw Golden Sword score an astonishing last to first victory in the bench mark 67 over 1000m. The highly touted son of Swiss Ace had not raced for right on a year, having to sit out after a second ban for bleeding following a trial in March. A winner of his first three starts, Golden Sword was highly rated by the stable before knee surgery halted his racing. A couple of unlucky runs were followed by a bleeding incident in November 2016, and again earlier this year in a trial.
The decision was made to persevere with Golden Sword and he was sent for a long spell. A patient build up followed with a three trials before making his reappearance in a race on Sunday. All looked lost when Golden Sword bungled the start and settle down at the tail of the field. Not much changed heading into the home straight with Rodd having to make up about 12 lengths in the straight. From the 400m Golden Sword could be seen to be making good ground and it looked likely he would run a nice closing 4th or 5th. Angling out at the 200m mark, once in clear air, the older full brother of quality Singapore galloper Nova Swiss sprouted wings, flying home to clearly grab the massive Olympian Eagle on the line.
Stable Client Greg Perry also played a part in the second leg of the double having bred both Golden Sword and Nova Swiss from his broodmare Asciano Miss. Asciano Miss has a Reliable Man filly booked to come to Singapore in January and will be raced by Greg under the Tarnpirr stable. We can’t wait for he arrival.