Racing

Debt Collector to head overseas to reboot

Horse of the Year going to where champion sprinter Zac Spirit rested in 2015

Another Singapore Horse of the Year has taken the cue from one of his illustrious predecessors by heading overseas for a spot of rebooting.

War Affair, champion in 2014, will soon be New Zealand-bound in a bid to solve his well-chronicled breathing issues.

If the cooler air does the trick, connections hope the seven-year-old 16-time winner can resume his racing career back at Kranji in six months' time.

It is now reigning Singapore Horse of the Year Debt Collector's turn to follow suit, albeit across the Tasman Sea instead.

The multiple-Group 1 winner and former champion three-year-old has been a shadow of himself this year, including his unsuccessful Singapore Four-Year-Old Challenge campaign, even if he was far from disgraced.

But his tame sixth to much-less fancied stablemate Gilt Complex in last Sunday's Group 1 Raffles Cup over 1,800m turned out to be the last straw.

Debt Collector's connections have decided to send their champion to Australia and he is already booked to fly out on Dec 2.

The Cliff Brown-trained Thorn Park five-year-old is following the same blueprint as Brown's former champion sprinter Zac Spirit in 2015.

"Just like Zac Spirit, Debt Collector is going to spend five months in Newhaven Park in New South Wales. I discussed with Glenn (Whittenbury of Barree Stable) and we agreed it was the best thing to do for him," said Brown.

"He will be in a paddock there before Christmas and the idea is to try and rejuvenate him.

"He didn't hurt himself after the Raffles Cup, unlike Zac Spirit (knee chip after the 2015 KrisFlyer International Sprint), just wear and tear and mental fatigue.

"He did jar up because the track was too firm on that day, but that's not the issue. Michael Rodd said he did not let down as he usually does even if he again ran the quickest sectionals."

The ideal scenario would be to see Debt Collector return to racing back in Singapore at the highest level, and hopefully emulate Zac Spirit.

The son of Flying Spur was sidelined for almost a year, including six months of post-operative rehab in Newhaven Park, but made a remarkable recovery by winning the 2016 Group 1 Lion City Cup at his comeback.

"Hopefully, getting Debt Collector in the paddocks will help fix his issues, just like it did for Zac," said Brown.

"He will come back around May next year, and we will then get him ready for races like the Queen Elizabeth II Cup or the Raffles Cup later in the year, and even the International races in 2019."

The Singapore Turf Club announced in August its intention to bring back two international races, which will be staged over 1,200m and 1,600m, on the third Sunday of May in 2019, in the same time slot occupied by the discontinued (in 2015) Singapore Airlines International Cup and KrisFlyer International Sprint.

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