Racing: Collins takes command

Heavy ground proves no barrier to success for the big-race favourite

COMMANDER Collins sloshed to Derby favouritism here yesterday with a seven-length victory in the Racing Post Trophy. And the sky above Town Moor, which had been dumping down rain all day with a relentlessness that seemed to border on malice, lightened just long enough for the colt's rider, Jimmy Fortune, to enjoy what may be the first of many moments in the sun.

It was the 26-year-old Irishman's first winner for his new boss Robert Sangster. "Nice way to start, a Group One winner," he beamed, with masterly understatement, as he stood mud-spattered and soaking in the unsaddling enclosure.

Commander Collins' win was also a lifting of the clouds for his trainer Peter Chapple-Hyam, who has had, by his high standards, a rotten year. His woes began when Sangster sold the stable's best Classic prospects - among them the subsequent 1,000 Guineas heroine Cape Verdi and Derby runner-up City Honours - to Sheikh Mohammed's all-acquisitive Godolphin operation.

But the label on Commander Collins reads "you can look - but you can't touch". His future at Manton should be assured, for a few hours before yesterday's victory, John Magnier, one of the few in the sport able to take on the Maktoums head to head, availed himself of a significant share of the son of Sadler's Wells to join Sangster and Tony Collins as a part- owner.

Yesterday's performance, even allowing for the fact that Commander Collins was the one least inconvenienced by the bog underfoot, was brimful of promise, even if it was not in the spectacular Celtic Swing league. Fortune sat just off the pace as Magno took the field of six along and then, as Tumbleweed Quartet and Timahs began to throw out distress signals, sent the bay about his business approaching the final eighth.

Commander Collins responded well, lengthening clear of the game, plugging- on Magno, Housemaster and Timahs (on whom Frankie Dettori was not hard once his chance had gone) in the final furlong. He is still rather weak and unfurnished and under the conditions was perhaps entitled to flag his tail and hang to his left. "It was a long, long way up the straight", said Chapple-Hyam afterwards, "and I was worried about running him when I saw the state of the course. He is still green, still learning, and can only get better.

"OK, so he could go on the ground and some of the others could not. But I've always thought the world of him and this makes the season look considerably better." Commander Collins is now a best-priced 14-1 with the Tote for the 1999 Derby and 16-1 with the same firm for the 2,000 Guineas.

Fortune, who took over from John Reid as Sangster's number one last month and whose previous career highs had been handicaps, said: "It is just wonderful to have been given the opportunity to ride horses of this calibre. Commander Collins has such a high cruising speed that the 2,000 should be an option and he will truly stay a mile and a half as well."

Commander Collins' dam, Kanmary, has already produced a Classic performer in Colonel Collins, third in the 2,000 Guineas and Derby four years ago. Another half-brother, Lit De Justice, won the 1966 Breeders' Cup Sprint and a third, Captain Collins, a minor race at Santa Anita late on Friday night. Yesterday's hero's baby sister was, at 425,000gns, the joint top- priced filly at the Houghton yearling sale earlier this month.

The 1998 Racing Post Trophy was the 134th Pattern win for offspring of Sadler's Wells; Commander Collins was his 34th individual Group or Grade One winner - and his fifth this year after King of Kings, Dream Well, Kayf Tara and Leggera - and gave the king of Coolmore the remarkable record of having sired at least one top-level winner from each of his 11 crops to race since 1988 Dewhurst dead-heaters Scenic and Prince of Dance set his golden ball rolling. Oddly, though, the Derby has as yet eluded him.

Commander Collins may have been an uneasy 2-1 favourite but his victory kept the Tote jackpot - which had been running since 9 October at Ascot and had accumulated the second-biggest pool in its 32-year history - alive to the tune of pounds 48.37-worth of tickets. Robin Lane, at 11-2, killed the hopes of all bar pounds 6.54 and only pounds 1.89 remained after Two Clubs squeaked home in the sixth race to share a record dividend of pounds 362,203.80. The biggest winner was a punter who did just one 50p line and scooped pounds 181,101.

New Articles
tvDownton Abbey Christmas special
Arts and Entertainment
Wolf (Nathan McMullen), Ian (Dan Starky), The Doctor (Peter Capaldi), Clara (Jenna Coleman), Santa Claus (Nick Frost) in the Doctor Who Christmas Special (BBC/Photographer: David Venni)
tvOur review of the Doctor Who Christmas Special
peopleIt seems you can't silence Katie Hopkins, even on Christmas Day...
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Left to right: Stanley Tucci, Sophie Grabol and Christopher Eccleston in ‘Fortitude’
tvSo Sky Atlantic arrived in Iceland to film their new and supposedly snow-bound series 'Fortitude'...
Arts and Entertainment
Jenna Coleman as Clara Oswald in the Doctor Who Christmas special
tvForget the rumours that Clara Oswald would be quitting the Tardis
Arts and Entertainment
Japanese artist Megumi Igarashi showing a small mascot shaped like a vagina
The Queen delivers her Christmas message
newsTwitter reacts to Her Majesty's Christmas Message
Arts and Entertainment
Life and Style
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Account Manager

£20000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This full service social media ...

Recruitment Genius: Data Analyst - Online Marketing

£24000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: We are 'Changemakers in retail'...

Austen Lloyd: Senior Residential Conveyancer

Very Competitive: Austen Lloyd: Senior Conveyancer - South West We are see...

Austen Lloyd: Residential / Commercial Property Solicitor


Day In a Page

A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

Christmas without hope

Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

The 'Black Museum'

After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

Chilly Christmas

Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all