Debt Collector ready to fight another day
Singapore Horse of The Year finishes ninth in the $8.3 million Group 1 Dubai Turf
Had you been there, your heart, too, would have skipped a beat when DEBT COLLECTOR started to improve in his customary style at the half-mile of the US$6 million (S$8.3 million) Group 1 Dubai Turf on Saturday.
But the last 300m of the 1,800m race was the reality check and, for the Singapore entourage at Meydan Racecourse, their worst fears were about to be realised.
Not like at Kranji, this time Debt Collector was not going to be able to sustain the run. He eventually plodded home in ninth place, just under 10 lengths off the winner VIVLOS, who was ridden by former Singapore and current Hong Kong champion Joao Moreira.
However, trainer Cliff Brown was still pleased with the way his Singapore Horse of the Year ran and he was glad he had brought his galloper to Dubai.
After listening to jockey Michael Rodd's post-race report, Brown was given the feedback all trainers want to hear, even after a defeat.
Rodd told him that the Thorn Park four-year-old had given his all but, on that global stage, the opposition proved just too good.
"It was all right, he ran his usual race. I've got to watch the race again, see it a few times, that sort of thing so I have a better idea," said Brown, who was at his first overseas raid.
"But, after digesting everything with a lot more thought, I will say he ran very well. I've learnt so much from this this episode and, going forward, I would do things differently merely from a training perspective."
Commenting on the opposition, Brown said: "It was a tough group he was running in. These are big strong horses and my boy isn't there, physically or mentally, yet. So, we learnt a lot and we'll go home and regroup. We'll get him right and look at the Four-Year-Old series.
"I won't give up hope of travelling with him again in the future."
Debt Collector will have ample time to get over his Dubai run as the Singapore Four-Year-Old Challenge kicks off with the Group 2 Stewards' Cup over 1,400m on May 28.
The second leg is the Group 1 Patron's Bowl, a 1,600m race on June 18 and the grand final is the Group 1 Emirates Singapore Derby over 2,000m on July 9.
Rodd, who had partnered the Barree Stable-owned galloper to seven of his eight wins, including his three domestic Group 1 successes, could not knock his horse for his effort and industry, but admitted it was simply not good enough.
"I'm really proud of him, he ran great," said the Australian jockey. "I went along at a decent clip from the 1,000m, but just had to keep niggling at him.
"He let down super, but was just not quite up to those guys."
Singapore may not have made its presence felt in the Dubai Turf, but would still have felt a connection when Moreira flashed past the post first aboard Japanese filly Vivlos in the 1,800m event.
The Brazilian star had never sat on the Yasuo Tomomichi-trained Deep Impact four-year-old until Thursday morning during a quiet spin.
"She was brilliant. From the time that I sat on top of her on Friday, she gave me the feel that she was going to be very competitive," said Moreira.
"She was probably the lightest horse in the race and so she wasn't sinking down, she was able to let down strongly in that ground. She is quite compact, but she is tall and she can really stretch out.
"She made the job very easy for me. She travelled comfortably and, when I put her in daylight, she was strong to the line and got it done."