Cliff Brown: Sourcing Only The Best For Singapore Racing
Brown is the youngest trainer in the history of Australian racing to have trained three Derby winners at Group One level. He has had a number of Melbourne Cup runners including Markham who ran a gallant third in 1997. Brown started his Singapore adventure in 2008 and is considered as one of the top trainers in Singapore.
Last year during the Inglis Ready 2 Race sale, Brown bought 3 horses at the sale - 1) Dissident X Sonata Queen (A$ 60,000), 2) Spirit of Boom X Fasuka (A$32,000) and 3) Rubick X Andromeda (A$55, 00). He regularly sources racehorses suitable for racing in Singapore from around the world.
Cliff Brown speaks to The Impact about his record-breaking purchases and much more…
Q: You purchased the maximum number of horses at last year's sale. What was it about these horses which attracted you to buy them? Where are they now?
A: I may have purchased the most by number but we didn’t spend a lot of them and it was really a matter of buying for clients within their budgets. They are all in training in Singapore and none have raced as yet.
Q: Have you had a chance to see this year's catalog? What are you looking for this year?
A: I haven’t had a look as yet and will study in conjunction with the breeze up videos
Q: When you decide to buy a horse, what is your process from the time the catalogue comes out to the day of the sale?
A: On the whole, we buy more yearlings than breeze-up horses so
I like to put in plenty of time reading the yearling sales catalogue. Where pedigrees are concerned I was educated by my father who is, without doubt, the best person I have come across when assessing and understanding matings so I am at a huge advantage having been taught some of the things he looks for. At sales time I am also supported by Chris Bock who works with me and he is an outstanding judge of a horse. Chris has the ability to look at 100 horses and remember them all. At sales time he heads off well before I do and when I arrive we simply look at those that he likes. Unlike Chris, I have the attention span of a goldfish so he simplifies the system!
Q: Who is the best horse in your stable currently?
A: We have just sent Debt Collector back to Australia so that left a hole in the stable however we have been fortunate enough to have a few horses step up in his absence namely What’s New and Inferno. Time will tell where they end up and if anything else can fill the void.
Q: Are you planning to come down for The Everest? From the current field if you had to pick the trifecta who would you choose?
A: I won’t be attending the Everest and to be honest I’d be flat out tipping the winner let alone the trifecta!
Q: Which was a horse you would have loved to have trained and why?
A: Gosh, what a question, there have been so many Champions throughout the world but I was always a huge Henry Cecil fan so I will say, Frankel.
Q: Given your list of accolades, what is on your bucket list to win for the next decade?
A: In Singapore, we have been very lucky with the number of good races that we have been able to win and this is always due to having a very good team around you and that is one thing that I certainly do have. Like any business, you will have your ‘downtimes’ but hopefully, we can keep winning a few more of those good races. As far as the “dream” result, I would say it’s the Melbourne Cup. I’m not sure how it would be possible from Singapore but that is the “bucket list” race for me.
Q: Could you please tell us about the most expensive horse you ever bought?
A: I’m sure people have some wonderful stories however mine is the polar opposite. I purchased a Sunday Silence filly who as a yearling went through a fence damaging her leg so badly she could never race. Certainly not one of my greatest moments in racing making the phone call to her owner. Thankfully, some 20 odd years later, I still train for them today.
Q: What sales do you normally aim to attend every year?
A: Between Chris and myself we attend a fair amount of the sales in Australia and New Zealand and while we would only buy 10 or so yearlings a year we have been very fortunate to have purchased several Group horses along the way.
Q: In the US they are planning to limit the stud books from 2021. Do you think this is a good thing for the industry, to be adopted the world over or it's an unnecessary restriction?
A: At present, it’s up for discussion from what I have read so I will be interested to see how it plays out. Arriving at a decision that is going to be suitable for the majority of the participants and healthy for the studbook is one that will require careful analysis of both industry and non-industry contributing factors to the numbers they are using to base their proposal on.