Brown will miss Rodd but the show goes on
It won't be easy to replace him but we have to move on, says trainer
The absence of Michael "Hot" Rodd left a big void at Kranji, but the one who missed the top Australian jockey most is trainer Cliff Brown.
Although Rodd was a freelancer before returning to ride in Victoria following Singapore's racing suspension due to the Covid-19 pandemic, he had for five years been giving first priority to Brown's rides, as long as weight permitted.
The partnership enjoyed many wonderful moments together, none more iconic than with eight-time Group winner and 2016 Horse of the Year Debt Collector.
"Michael was a huge part of our success, but above all, he was a terrific bloke to work with," said Brown.
"He's very easy to work with and was such a huge asset to the stable. He was a really good bloke and it won't be easy to replace him. But we have to move on."
He added that he has been using three-time champion Vlad Duric, A'Isisuhairi Kasim, Ruan Maia and Juan Paul van der Merwe, and is open to any jockey the stable feels is suitable and available.
From Rodd's haul of 341 winners at Kranji, 134 of them were from Brown.
It started with Media Captain on Jan 23, 2015, to Threeandfourpence on Feb 28 this year.
Thirteen of his successes came at Group level, including six at Group 1.
Debt Collector won five Group 1 races for the Brown-Rodd combination. The sixth was supplied by the late Gilt Complex in their most prestigious triumph, the Dester Singapore Gold Cup in 2017.
With 542 winners, Brown's strike rate with Rodd also makes for compelling reading, even if the former Victorian-based handler plied his trade at Kranji another seven years longer, given he started in 2008.
The 134 winners together means one in every four Brown winners had Rodd in the saddle.
When racing shut down at Kranji in April at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, fellow Australians Patrick Moloney and Daniel Moor, as well as New Zealander Alysha Collett, also flew to Australia to ride.
Duric, who has ridden stacks of winners for Brown, has landed one of the trainer's highest-profile rides, Inferno.
Rodd had been on board the Champion Juvenile's six runs - five straight wins followed by a last-start second behind Siam Warrior in a Class 3 race.
It's a hard act to follow, but Duric is not three-time Singapore champion jockey by chance.
"Vlad is Inferno's new partner. He rode him in a trial and I was very happy with that," said Brown, in reference to the Barree Stable-owned galloper's easy fifth to Tesoro Privado in a barrier trial last Thursday.
"He's pulled up well and will run in another trial in another 10 days. He's running in a Class 3 race over 1,200m on turf on Aug 8. There are no set targets for him, we'll just get through the first obstacle and then look around what's available."