Gilt Complex (right) dives through to deny last year's winner Bahana in the Singapore Gold Cup.
Spalato will always be recognised as the horse that defined the presence of New Zealand couple Graham Mackie and Trish Dunell in Singapore racing.
While they have won countless races at Kranji over the years, their home-bred Elusive City gelding stood out amongst those to carry their dark green with silver triangle colours.
Ten wins from 17 starts and stakes in excess of S$1.5 million headed by the Singapore Derby and champion four-year-old and sprinter status identified him as one out of the box.
Spalato will always hold a special place in the eyes of his owner-breeders, but now he has a challenger after Gilt Complex lifted himself off the canvas to win the marquee race on the Kranji calendar, the S$1.3 million Singapore Gold Cup.
At his previous start the Gold Centre six-year-old had scored a career high win in the Raffles Cup over 1800 metres, but with 300 metres to run the chances of adding yesterday’s 2200-metre feature appeared slim.
To that point Gilt Complex had enjoyed a cosy trip under Michael Rodd trailing sixth one out, and after narrowly avoiding a scrimmage with 600 metres to run when Newlands appeared to clip heels, he came into the action with a challenge down the outside.
But midway through the run home he hit a flat spot, stablemate Elite Excalibur to his outside left him in his wake and third place looked the best result behind last year’s winner Bahana and Elite Excalibur. Rodd was having none of that though, switching to clear air down near the inside rail and Gilt Complex suddenly lifted to burst through and cross the line with no-one able to split him and the Stephen Gray-trained Elusive City gelding Bahana.
The judge was the only person to turn to, giving the decision to Gilt Complex by what must rate as one of the barest of noses.
“I thought he was gone at the 600m. I was just tacking up behind the horse in front and I thought I would run a nice fourth,” Rodd told Kranji media.
“But he found another gear when I took him to the fence, he was just pushing himself to get there and it’s just so amazing to win the Gold Cup.”
Rodd is in his third Singapore season, with yesterday’s win topping previous successes in the Singapore Derby, Raffles Cup and Kranji Mile. For trainer, fellow Australian Cliff Brown, it was also his first Singapore Gold Cup.
“I’m lost for words,” added Rodd. “I’ve been so lucky winning all the big races, earlier on for Laurie Laxon with Stepitup, then there was Well Done, Debt Collector for Cliff and now this, the Gold Cup – for Cliff again.”
Gilt Complex, who took his earnings past S$1.5 million, now rates as one of the bargains of the sale-ring, having cost just $10,000 from Newmarket Lodge’s 2013 Karaka Festival Sale draft.