Kiwi beauty's brand new Kranji venture
Ex-supermodel Kylie Bax ditched runways for racecourses, now owns Luxury Brand
A phone call from Kranji trainer Donna Logan last year has revived a passing thought former New Zealand supermodel Kylie Bax fleetingly had around a decade ago.
Own a racehorse in Singapore.
During her modelling days in New York, Paris and Milan, the Cambridge beauty would check Kranji results in between catwalks or transatlantic flights.
A most bizarre hobby for a supermodel, you might think, but racing actually runs in her genes.
Bax’s parents, Graham and Helen-Gaye, run the Matamata stud Blandford Lodge, whose best-known export is arguably Hong Kong legend Beauty Generation.
And there was a good reason for the keen interest in Singapore – Better Than Ever, the late Laurie Laxon’s superstar who racked up 12 wins in a row, stumbled in the Singapore Gold Cup in 2010, but rebounded with four more wins.
Bax did not own Better Than Ever (Tang Weng Fei and Thomas Loke did), but she co-bred him.
She does now as the now 16YO is happily retired on her farm.
The incredible record did get her to flirt with the idea of racing her own horse in the Lion City. But, somehow, it did not gain further traction, and was left at that.
Logan’s chirpy voice at the other end of the line has suddenly awakened Bax out of her slumber.
The next thing she knew, she had registered her first racehorse at Kranji, Luxury Brand, a raw two-year-old whom she promptly sent to the one who “planted the seed”.
At his debut in a Restricted Maiden race (1,200m) on July 24, the son of Charm Spirit was overshadowed by Logan’s other newcomer, the more fancied Fadaboy, by virtue of his close links with top Australian sprinter Natural Strip.
But Luxury Brand came within a whisker of giving Bax a fairytale start, beaten a nose by Fadaboy.
The now three-year-old is unlikely to fly under the radar second-up in this Sunday’s $75,000 Restricted Maiden race over 1,100m on Polytrack.
Bax is itching for Sunday’s race.
“I co-bred Better Than Ever, who enjoyed a lot of success in Singapore, but I never had a racehorse in Singapore,” said Bax, who has about eight horses in New Zealand.
“It’s funny how one day I was chatting with Donna Logan, who’s a wonderful trainer and trained our dual Group 1 winner Danzdanzdance. She told me I should give her a horse to train in Singapore.
“I’ve never given that much consideration. I’m more of a syndicator/breeder, but I’ve been thinking more and more about it since Donna planted the seed in my head.
“I told Donna if I find a horse, I’d definitely like her to train for me.”
Luxury Brand was the right horse in the right place at the right time.
“My dad had a horse he was not going to send to the Ready-To-Run sale because the trainer didn’t want him. My dad then asked me if I’d like to take him on,” said Bax.
“I actually broke him in and pre-trained him at my Coniston Lodge equine centre in Cambridge. At first, he was a bit scared and not very good, but he has changed so much and developed so quickly.
“When a horse grows from strength to strength, it’s a sign he has brains and intelligence.
“I really liked him. So, I said I’d love to have him.
“Donna has done a wonderful job with him. It was a big thrill to see him racing on TV, even if he was narrowly beaten.
“It was great to watch the whole crowd cheering. We’re sending another horse up next year.”