Debt back to old self in Crystal Mile, all set for Mackinnon

Debt Collector
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Via Michael Lee, Singapore Turf Club

Debt Agent, the horse formerly known as Debt Collector, turned in a “huge run” that pleased connections no end on Saturday.

Second-up after his Australian debut eighth in a 1400m Listed race at Flemington three weeks earlier, the 2016 Singapore Horse of the Year, who had his old Kranji partner Michael Rodd back in the irons in the Group 2 Schweppes Crystal Mile (1600m) at Moonee Valley, dropped to his customary racing pattern of seeing them all.

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As the field packed up before the home turn of the circular racecourse, Debt Agent was still detached away in last place, but was already plotting a wide path to the outside.

From where the Thorn Park seven-year-old was 300m out, his mission looked impossible, especially over the Valley’s incredibly short straight, but Rodd, who certainly knows what buttons to push and when, got those old afterburners roaring back to life while a bunched-up group of five horses were fighting out the finish.

Those pink colours flashed home, but though he could only finish in seventh spot, he was only one length off the winner, English raider Chief Ironside (Jamie Spencer).

Like many Singaporean fans, Brown watched the race ‘live’ and was delighted with his old champion’s second-up run.

“It was a huge run. He ran the fastest last 600m,” said the Australian handler who has prepared the Barree Stable-owned galloper to 12 wins at Kranji, including five at Group 1 level.

“Jim was very happy with the way he’s pulled up. He will now run in the Mackinnon Stakes on Saturday week.

“It’s a race I came close to winning once with a good horse called Emission. He ran third (to Graeme Rogerson’s La Bella Dama).

“Michael will ride Debt Collector again in the Mackinnon, he will ride at the Kranji meeting on Friday night and fly out the same night and will be back on Sunday for the Singapore Gold Cup meeting.”

Up until 2016, the Group 1 Mackinnon Stakes (2000m) used to be a traditional lead-up race to the Melbourne Cup and was run on the first day of the Melbourne Cup carnival. The weight-for-age event is now staged on the Saturday after the Melbourne Cup, making the end of the Spring Carnival.

Conlan has already informed Brown his former star was right on track for his next assignment.

“Debt Agent’s pulled up an absolute treat, just coming right on beautifully,” said Conlan who is based at his coastal Pinecliff property on the Mornington Peninsula.

“He went for a bit of a workout around the bush track this morning (Tuesday) and then came down to the beach where he had a nice wade in the water.

“He’s going to have a gallop later in the week and maybe a little cleanout next week leading into the Mackinnon. All good.”