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A famous win and a famous hangover; Man In The News: Tony Collins.

COMMANDER COLLINS may have woken up with a clear head on Sunday, but his namesake Tony Collins won't have. Collins, a part-owner of 'The Commander', received the Racing Post Trophy at Doncaster on Saturday and later emptied it.

"I had some of Victor Chandler's 5-1 earlier in the week," said Collins yesterday, "and last night we went on to celebrate with David Brown, the former Warwickshire cricketer. It has been a long 24 hours."

Commander Collins, promoted to Derby favouritism after romping home in the Group 1 event, is the latest in a series of Robert Sangster-owned horses to be named after the ebullient and raffish Collins, 62. Colonel Collins finished third in the 1994 2,000 Guineas and Derby, while Captain Collins was a dual winner last year.

The military titles are a gentle joke at Collins' expense. "Robert and I have been friends for over 40 years and Colonel Collins was a joke at my failure to pass the test for a National Service commission," explained Collins.

Collins will always be famous, or infamous, as the 'trainer' of Gay Future, an escapade which ended with Collins being warned off for 10 years. When he finally returned to the racecourse, at Ayr in 1986, Sangster was there to greet him.

An institutional stockbroker based in Troon, Collins was back in the news in 1995, when he led a successful revolt against the management of Ayr's Western Meeting Club, which resulted in the resignation and replacement of the existing committee, chaired by Ivan Straker.

Collins said: "Robert Sangster has very decently allowed me to have a share in Commander Collins and in about 15 other horses, many of which are unraced two-year-olds. I also have about six horses with Jonjo O'Neill and will always keep up my connection with jumping through him.

"I see no reason why Commander Collins shouldn't run in both the Guineas and the Derby and I have backed him at 50-1 for both races."

Referring to the new regime at Ayr, Collins said: "The progress that has been made is tremendous and thrilling, a lot of it down to the efforts of Mark Kershaw. Trainers and owners are saying what a terrific welcome they get."

Collins has no plans to return to the training ranks. "Never, never, never," he said. "Far too much like hard work."

DAVID ASHFORTH

Tony Morris, p11; Ratings Review, p6
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Article Details
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Title Annotation:Sports
Author:Ashforth, David
Publication:The Racing Post (London, England)
Date:Oct 27, 1998
Words:398
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