Gilt Complex springs $222 upset in Raffles Cup
Trainer Cliff Brown's Group 1 winner will head for the $1.35 million Dester Singapore Gold Cup
First, it was Secret Win's $197 victory in the $150,000 Group 3 El Dorado Classic in Race 7 and then Gilt Complex produced a bigger surprise two races later with a $222 shock in the $700,000 Group 1 Raffles Cup at Kranji yesterday.
And, as racecaller Matthew Jones succinctly put it, "stranger things have happened" at yesterday's proceedings, referring to the rare dead-heats in successive races and both involving jockey Derreck David.
In Race 2, the South African rider had to share the booty when his mount Lim's Pershing dead-heated with Little Master and then saw his Race 3 mount Makanani deadlocked at the post with Mighty Kenny.
Indeed, it was an eventful day with a couple of other three-figure upsets. Flash One (late Mighty Man) took Race 6 and paid $177, and Golden Curl saluted in Race 8 to return $150.
Back to Gilt Complex, he got away quickly and tracked Group 1 Singapore Guineas-cum-Group 2 Chairman's Trophy winner Forever Young in the 1,800m feature, which was the second leg of the Singapore Triple Crown Series.
The least-backed of trainer Cliff Brown's four Raffles Cup runners and third-last in the first leg of the series - the Group 1 Panasonic Kranji Mile - three weeks ago, Gilt Complex pulled alongside the leader 300m out.
Under jockey A'Isisuhairi "Harry" Kasim's vigorous riding, he soon kicked away and left his rider wondering where the other runners were as his mount sailed to an easy one-and-three-quarter-length victory.
Stablemate Elite Excalibur finished second, with the Stephen Gray-trained Lim's Cruiser third, half a length away.
Brown's reigning Raffles Cup winner and the $16 favourite Debt Collector ran sixth and his Group 1 Queen Elizabeth II Cup winner Laughing Gravy finished last of 12 runners.
Brown was not overly surprised Gilt Complex won the race.
"Look, I knew he was going well. His trial on Tuesday was good. Elite Excalibur was good. I think it was probably the other two felt the ground," said the Australian, adding that Gilt Complex will proceed to the final leg of the series - the Gold Cup - in three weeks' time.
Gilt Complex ran a narrow third to Bahana in the El Dorado Classic last year and was left out of the Gold Cup, which Bahana won with 50.5kg on his back.
Gilt Complex, however, won the consolation race over the same 2,200m trip on the same day in a faster time with 57kg, thereby deemed to be unlucky to be left out of the blue riband of the local turf.
A'Isisuhairi was overjoyed with his Raffles Cup victory, which provided him a belated birthday present.
"To get a ride in a Group 1, I'm quite happy. But, you know, to get this win is just unbelievable," said the Kelantan-born rider, who celebrated his 32nd birthday on Oct 16.
"This is my dream. I've ridden a few Group 2 and Group 3 winners but I've always been waiting for this one. I'm just over the moon. It's a nice birthday present and my wife is here today."
On Gilt Complex, he said: "We drew 8 and, you know, we didn't plan to go forward. Mr Brown said just jump him and see where he lands, and this bloke, with the blinkers back on, he just jumped so well and he was a little sharp earlier on.
"The pace was just nice and steady and I was happy to sit next to the leader.
"At the top of the straight, I tried to hold on as much as I could. Once I shifted a gear, he just gave everything. But the last 100m, I was kind of a little worried and I started to wonder where the rest were, all the top horses, you know, like Debt Collector.
"But the last 30m, I knew it was going to be my race."