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Debt Collector returns a winner in Jumbo Jet thriller
Michael Lee

Exciting galloper Debt Collector returned to racing with the same panache he showed as a three-year-old when he landed a nail-biter in the $200,000 Group 3 Jumbo Jet Trophy (1400m) on Sunday.


The son of Thorn Park went for a well-earned break after his three-year-old exploits when he landed the last two Legs of the Singapore Three-Year-Old Challenge, including the Group 1 Singapore Guineas (1600m) in May, with what has now become his trademark electric turn of foot.


His work and barrier trials had been good, but trainer Cliff Brown had cautioned he may face a big ask first-up against seasoned gallopers at weight-for-age level. 

Debt Collector (Michael Rodd) thunders home on the outside to just pip Nova Strike (Manoel Nunes,
No 7) on the line in the Jumbo Jet Trophy.

But horses don’t listen to humans, but he sure responded to regular partner Michael Rodd’s hard riding from the top of the straight to just blouse out Nova Strike (Manoel Nunes) right on the line.


The Alwin Tan-trained galloper was being hailed the winner when he came off his ideal rails-hugging run in transit to hit the front at the 200m, but Debt Collector who brought up the rear and improved three wide from the 800m was looming up with his grandstand finish on the outside.


Under pressure, Debt Collector was, however, drifting out towards the standside as the winning post crept up, with the two horses lunging at the line a fair distance wide apart, which made it even harder to split them with the naked eye. But the photo finish eventually showed that Brown’s champion three-year-old had just got there in the nick of time to win by the proverbial pimple from Nova Strike.

Jumbo Jet Trophy is theirs: (from left) owner Mr Glenn Whittenbury, trainer Cliff Brown and jockey
Michael Rodd. 

Spanish Bay (Shafiq Rizuan) who did the bullocking work chasing race leader Eclair Choice (Barend Vorster) from the outset, did momentarily look a strong chance of stealing the race when he swept to the lead at the top of the straight, but soon had to bow down to the superior finish of the winner and his runner-up.


The winning time was 1min 23.02secs for the 1400m on the Short Course.


Brown again looked bemused by that fifth win recorded by a horse he has now put in the same top bracket as his champion sprinter, the just-retired dual Lion City Cup winner Zac Spirit.


The day had actually not begun on the best note for the Australian conditioner when his two fancied runners Divided House and Golden Sword killed each other’s chances by “playing pinball machine” at the start in an earlier race, but his other former smart three-year-old Fitzroy’s win one race earlier followed by Debt Collector’s game win when he thought he would need the run more than made up for the disappointment.


“It didn’t start very well today, but things have certainly improved since,” he said in his usual understated manner.


“Credit must go to the stable staff, (assistant-trainer) Tim Fitzsimmons and all the boys who ride him and look after him.


“It was an incredible win, and honestly, I would have been happy if he had run third. He also defied the way the track has been playing when he came out wide. This horse can certainly do things other horses cannot.


“Zac Spirit was a great horse, but this one has to be up there with the best.


“I was also happy with Laughing Gravy’s run; it was too short but he ran seventh and was not far behind.”


Rodd jumped off shaking his head in disbelief, stunned by how much heart Debt Collector showed to find the line inside the last 300m.


“It’s remarkable. I guess you can say it was another spine-tingling win,” he said.


“He was not great early. He always takes a while to warm up in the first furlong.


“I wanted to be on the fence but I ended up sitting off the fence at the rear. I looked up to see where I was, ready to go for Plan B.


“But he’s such a good horse that has so much strength and he started to let down very well once I went for him.


“But then he started to feel the ground as it had dried out late by then. I thought he might blow out first-up.


“He then started to shift out. He felt like his legs were not going but his head was, but luckily we made it right on the line.


“That win is even more amazing given the fact he was running in a very serious field today.”


Rodd took the opportunity to reaffirm where his loyalty lay as far as the upcoming big races were concerned, and it was no surprise to hear in which he corner he was staying. The popular jockey was the one who earned the winning pick-up ride aboard Well Done in the Group 1 Emirates Singapore Derby (2000m) in July.


“I know I won the Derby with Well Done, but we knew all along my loyalty was with Debt Collector,” he said.


“I think Glen Boss will ride Well Done and I will stay with Debt Collector for the rest of the year.”


Debt Collector has now amassed more than $640,000 in prizemoney for his owner, the Victorian-based Barree Stable.