Brown bemoans barrier vs fitness issue for Filibuster

Patience is paying off with smart but unruly filly Filibuster even if one can sense trainer Cliff Brown’s frustration at being unable to tap on such vast potential more readily.

The Ilovethiscity three-year-old has already won two races from as many starts, but the Australian handler said that a lot more could have been achieved if Filibuster was not her own worst enemy at the barriers.

Just getting her to pass her basic barrier tests took longer than the average time: Three months.  

Filibuster has stacks of talent that trainer Cliff Brown has yet to fully explore, picture Singapore Turf Club

When she was finally cleared to race, she flipped and got cast in the gates. It was back to the drawing board – two more months of schooling.

Brown’s “naughty girl” finally had her first race under the belt in a Restricted Maiden race over 1100m on October 6, duly rewarding her hard-working handlers and patient connections with an easy win.

She then acted up again. The fractious filly was difficult to load, but after she finally relented, she redeemed herself by lapping up her rivals with the same ease in a Class 4 race, again over 1100m.

It was another white card. She passed her tests with flying colours, winning her two barrier trials in her usual dominant style, the latest one on Tuesday by 5 ½ lengths under new partner Michael Rodd. Former Kranji-based jockey Manoel Nunes was aboard at her first two wins.

There was no doubting the engine under her bonnet, but Brown felt it was not being harnessed the way it should be with all the time and effort spent on barrier re-education.

“At least, we got the gates out of the way on Tuesday, but the problem with her is we haven’t been able to train her properly,” said Brown.

“We’re doing more work with her at the barriers, trying to educate her more than to get her fit for racing.

“Physically, she is not at the fitness level I would have wanted her to be at. She canters on the Monday, then on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, it’s barrier practice.

“How can you get race-fit with one gallop a week? But we do the best we can and she’s almost there.

“She will have her next race in a Class 3 race over 1000m on March 4 and Michael Rodd will ride her.”