Brown-Rodd combo puts 'em to the Sword again

Trainer Cliff Brown’s Midas touch since landing the Dester Singapore Gold Cup with Gilt Complex two weeks ago seems to be also working its magic on problem horses, more precisely, turning them into winners first-up.

Victorious at his first three races, Golden Sword (yes, gold again) was once regarded as one of Brown’s most exciting prospects as a three-year-old.

But the bubble soon burst. Strangely, the son of Swiss Ace (incidentally the second Brown runner by that stallion to score on Sunday after debut winner Clokey) did not greet the judge again in eight more outings, including an unplaced run to Conflight in the Group 3 Dester Singapore Three-Year-Old Sprint (1200m) in 2016.

Golden Sword (Michael Rodd, No 8) swoops late to deny Olympian Eager (Vlad Duric, blinkered) of victory, picture Singapore Turf Club

He was not disgraced, though, but health setbacks actually got the better of him with Brown left with no other choice but to treat him accordingly, in the hope the best part of these qualities would be restored by the time he comes back.

Brown’s first reaction shortly after Golden Sword landed from the clouds to upstage odds-on favourite Olympian Eager (Vlad Duric) in the $60,000 Open Benchmark 67 race over 1000m on Polytrack summed up his sheer delight.

“That was a beauty, wasn’t it?” said the Australian handler, who is not known for wordy compliments.

“This horse was away for more than a year because of bleeding issues. He was ready to go, and then he bled at the trials and he was gone for three months.

“He also had a knee surgery and here, I have to thank Dr Dan Shaw (Singapore Turf Club veterinary surgeon) for the good job he’s done on the horse.

“Golden Sword is back today and that’s lovely. It’s great for everybody, it’s a team effort.

“He will have a good break and we will find another race for him in January.”

Brown’s winning touch could also apply to Rodd, who is after all his de facto stable jockey and has also been part of the Gilt Complex Gold trail. The Australian rider was bringing up his 56th winner for the season, 31 of whom have been for Brown, including Clokey earlier.

“He was a decent horse who raced in Group company before. He is proven on Polytrack, but he was away for 12 months because of his bleeding issues,” said Rodd.

“He has recaptured his form today, but I have to say he made a meal of his start, though.

“He reared and when he hit the ground, he quickly got back on his feet. I followed where Bossy (Glen Boss on Conilad) went.

“At one stage, Bossy was three deep, and then his horse ducked back to the inside. I decided to go through the field and luckily, he produced a good finish to get there in time.”

Indeed, the Gold Stable-owned gelding looked a forlorn hope after blundering at the start and saw them all for the best part of the 1000m journey.

At the top of the straight, Golden Sword’s odds of $54 would have probably trebled if one looked at how he still spotted race-leader Champagne Rein (Zawari Razali) about five lengths, not to mention he also had to contend with a massive traffic snarl lying in between him and the winning post.

All eyes were then cast on Olympian Eager who was making inroads along the rails and on the cusp of a three-in-a-row, but Golden Sword sprouted wings inside the last 100m to lunge at the line and gain the verdict from a nonetheless gallant Olympian Eager. Champagne Rein held on gamely for third place another half-a-length away.

The winning time was 58.82 seconds for the 1000m on Polytrack.

Golden Sword was ringing up his fourth win, more than two years after his last win, taking his stakes earnings around the $170,000 mark for the Gold Stable of Mr Yong Nam Seng.