Brown gets his 400th win
Trainer says his milestone winner Gilt Complex has come back bigger and stronger
Since he relocated from Australia in 2008, trainer Cliff Brown has held his own in the Kranji ranks.
He saddled more than his share of winners, including a host of feature races, and recently earning the nickname "Group 1 Cliff" with his recent exploits with Horse of the Year Debt Collector, dual Lion City Cup hero Zac Spirit and Queen Elizabeth II Cup victor Laughing Gravy.
Yesterday, the affable trainer achieved another milestone in his Kranji career, saddling his 400th winner with GILT COMPLEX who beat a strong field in Race 7.
Owned by Graham Mackie of Spalato fame, Gilt Complex was having his first race since his consolation win on Dester Singapore Gold Cup Day on Nov 20.
The highly regarded five-year-old failed to qualify for the Gold Cup after finishing third in the Group 3 El Dorado Classic over 2,200m, won by Bahana who went on to capture the blue riband of the turf.
The surprising part was that Gilt Complex scored over the 2,200m trip on the same day in a faster time with a heavier weight - in 2min 16.88sec with 57kg, compared to Bahana in the Gold Cup in 2min 17.42sec with only 50.5kg. Hence, it was a pity he failed to secure a berth, as he would have also qualified with a feather weight.
Brown gave Gilt Complex a well-deserved break and his charge has certainly come back to continue where he left off.
Yesterday, he was neglected in the betting over the 1,400m trip against the much-vaunted back-to-back winner Absolute Miracle and rising star Skywalk.
But, being the good horse that he is, the $69 outsider defied the odds to score a magnificent win with his resilience and tenacity. His win was all the more impressive as he clocked the fastest time in a Class 3 race, 1:21.53 with the top impost of 57kg.
Ridden by jockey Michael Rodd, Gilt Complex settled fifth behind Big Man, who led from Al Green, Skywalk and Absolute Miracle, the $10 favourite.
Big Man and Al Green back-pedalled after straightening. Skywalk strolled ahead. Absolute Miracle failed to find the acceleration that sealed his last two victories.
Just when Skywalk looked poised for victory, Rodd brought Gilt Complex flying home and hit the front 100m out for a three-quarter-length victory. Brown's Magstock flashed home third, another three-quarter lengths behind Skywalk.
Brown sounded nonchalant when congratulated on his 400th success. Instead, he had more words for his rising stayer.
"Yeah, that's nice,"' he said.
"He's a lovely horse. At the end of his last prep, he ran very, very well. We put him away and he has come back bigger and stronger. He's in for a good time."
Brown would have secured his 400th win with Debt Collector on Friday, but his Race 1 "winner" Key On Kodiac fizzled out as the race was declared void because of a false start.