Champion galloper Debt Collector (NZ) (Thorn Park) was equal to the task in the Sgp$500,000 Chairman’s Trophy (1600m) on Sunday, but did not fail in his reputation of sending many shivers down the spine before he got there.
Contrary to most of his previous 11 victories where the six-year-old son of Thorn Park leaves it late before touching the line first, he nearly got bloused out this time around.
The grandstand was up on their feet and ready to applaud another withering burst from the Kranji kingpin as regular partner Michael Rodd drove him to the front with 100m to go, but instead of pulling away, he came under the direct threat of Countofmontecristo (NZ) (Echoes Of Heaven) who had sliced through the pack and was powerfully hitting the line along the running rails
The two great warriors finished wide apart and for a second, there was a belief that unexpected come-from-behind challenge from Countofmontecristo might have lowered the boom on Cliff Brown’s colossus.
But the judge’s photo was unequivocal. Debt Collector had a long neck to spare from Countofmontecristo, who for the second time in a row, had to play second fiddle to the champion.
The pair finished in the same order at their last clash in a Class 1 race over 1400m on March 10, and with the same margin – neck – splitting them, but in the other more usual pattern which normally typifies their style: Countofmontecristo in front and nabbed late by Debt Collector.
It was probably a bitter pill to swallow for Countofmontecristo’s camp given the huge punt they took by changing tactics nearly hit the jackpot, but that irrepressible Debt Collector just does not let his guard down.
Brown, who was at his first Chairman’s Trophy success, was again in awe at the way his precious charge knows where the winning post is, even if he did look decidedly vulnerable on Sunday, especially in the concluding stages.
“Debt Collector went through and stopped. I don’t think he saw Countofmontecristo sneaking through on the inside, but we won, which is great,” said Brown.
“He pulled up after the winning post, which is just him. Glen rode a clever race on Countofmontecristo, who’s a very good horse. It nearly paid off.
“To me, Debt Collector is the best horse in Singapore since Rocket Man.”
Debt Collector survived that late scare to add roughly another $270,000 to the bank account, bringing his total earnings past the $3 million mark for the Barree Stable which had its principal owner Glenn Whittenbury at the races on Sunday.
“He made our hearts stop again, but that’s what he does all the time!” said the Australian owner.
Debt Collector is a product of Windsor Park Stud and was purchased out of their draft at the 2014 National Yearling Sale before making his way to Brown’s stable after the trainer outlaid $120,000 for him at the New Zealand Bloodstock Ready To Run Sale later that year.