It was a sad night for the Singapore team at the Super Saturday meeting in Dubai after Gilt Complex had to be euthanased following the running of the US$250,000 Group 2 Dubai City Of Gold (2410m).
The Cliff Brown-trained 2017 Dester Singapore Gold Cup winner was pulled up by jockey Adrie de Vries as the field was about to enter the backstraight of the Meydan racecourse, a sign something had obviously gone amiss.
It was later reported that Gilt Complex had broken down and could unfortunately not be saved by the Dubai Racing Club vets.
Gilt Complex was at his third Dubai start. He finished unplaced at his first two outings.
Overall, the Graham Mackie-owned son of Gold Centre won eight races, including the Group 1 Dester Singapore Gold Cup (2200m) and the Group 1 Raffles Cup (1800m), and was placed eight times from 30 starts at Kranji, amassing more than $1.5 million in stakes money. He was first prepared by trainer John O’Hara for whom he won three races from eight starts.
Brown was understandably shattered by the tragic loss.
“It’s just a very sad day for everyone involved with the horse,” said the Australian handler.
“It’s a business with incredible highs and also the polar opposite lows that are just heart-breaking and today is one of those days for all of us.”
There was some consolation for Singapore, though, as its second runner Newlands ran a gallant sixth, about nine lengths off Godolphin’s Hawkbill (William Buick) who defeated stablemate Frontiersman (James Doyle) by a head in a new course record of 2min 26.85secs.
Trainer Stephen Gray, who flew to Dubai to watch the race with wife Bridget, was for one happy with the run.
“Newlands ran a slasher coming from last the way he did. It was a track record and he couldn’t get clear,” said the Kiwi handler.
“The jockey got off and said he should run in the two-mile race and he has to be a big chance the way he went.
“There were Group 1 winners in this race and we actually passed a couple of them.”
Newlands parading before the Dubai City of Gold on Saturday night (photo by Gareth Pepper).
Since the beginning of February, Newlands, Gilt Complex along with Bahana, have competed for Singapore nine times all-up at the 2018 Dubai World Cup Carnival, with Newlands’ closing fourth place under Tom Marquand in the Al Naboodah Trade School Trophy (2000m) on March 1 as the best performance by far.
Ridden by Richard Mullen this time, Newlands, who was at his fourth Dubai start, did somehow replicate that run when he came off a rearward spot to pass some runners in the home straight. On a bright side note, the St George Stable-owned gelding was voted the Best Turned Out horse for the second time.
The Super Saturday meeting is often viewed as a last chance for horses to earn a ticket to the country’s grand final, the Dubai World Cup meeting, the world’s richest race meeting in a single day, on March 31. It remains to be seen if Newlands will run in one of its nine races, the US$1 million Group 2 Dubai Gold Cup (3200m).
Singapore also still has Infantry, Nova Strike and Speedy Dragon nominated for the Dubai World Cup night. The run is on invitation only with a decision expected to come from the Dubai Racing Club in the next few days.