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Collection ridden by Weichong Marwing, cruises home to win the Cathay Pacific International Cup Trial (HK Gr 2, 2000m) at Sha Tin

Collection: from the sixth northern hemisphere crop of Peintre Celebre

  PICTURE: HKJC 

Collection shows benefits of using sound mares

COLLECTION 5 g Peintre Celebre - Lasting Chance

COLLECTION seemed to be a fast-improving performer in the summer of 2008. Having added to his Newcastle maiden win of October 2007, he landed a well-contested handicap at York in May and ran to a mark some 13lb higher only a month later, when recording a smooth victory in the Listed Hampton Court Stakes at Royal Ascot.

The handsome gelding, who had cost €130,000 as a yearling, had only two more starts in the colours of Highclere Thoroughbred Racing and fifth places in Group 2 events in France and Turkey showed he was a shade below his Ascot form. Perhaps that had been the best of him and hopes that he would reach another level were just wishful thinking.

It took a while, and a change of environment, for further improvement to come, but he has clearly developed into ahigh-class athlete in Hong Kong, while evidently putting formerly persistent foot problems behind him.

Last March he won the Hong Kong Derby in fine style and since then, whenever he has raced over what is undoubtedly his optimum tripof 1m2f, he has run to a mark several pounds higher than his top British form.

In November he easily won the International Cup Trial against locally trained rivals and a month later the proof of his promotion to the premier league came with a splendid display in the Hong Kong Cup.

On that occasion Collection did not have the best of luck in running, but he went under by only three-quarters of a length at level weights to France's triple Group 1 scorer Vision D'Etat. There was daylight between him and some classy pursuers, including Presvis, Ashalanda and Eagle Mountain.

On his first outing this year Collection finished a lacklustre tenth of 12 in the Stewards' Cup - a disappointing, if not wholly surprising, outcome over the inadequate 1m trip. Three weeks later he looked a lot sharper when winning a barrier trial which set him up for Sunday's Hong Kong Gold Cup.

Held up towards the rear in the early stages, as usual, the gelding began to make progress on the turn for home, then produced his trademark spurt to reel in the leaders. Once in front he moved abruptly into the path of Thumbs Up, whose rider Christophe Soumillon had to take evasive action, then pulled clear to scoreby nearly two lengths, with
Mr Medici in third place. The 1-2-3 was a repeat of the 2009 Derby.

It was no surprise when an objection was lodged, but the stewards took the view that the winner was much the best on the day and allowed the result to stand.

Collection has amassed earnings in excess of £1.1 million from his Derby and Gold Cup victories at Sha Tin, which carry Group 1 designation locally, but globally are ranked no higher than Listed status. Any idea that he is no better now than when he won at Royal Ascot is readily refuted by his run against Vision D'Etat at the international meeting in December; he is undoubtedly of Group 1 calibre.

Collection comes from the sixth northern-hemisphere crop of his sire Peintre Celebre, the undisputed champion of Europe in 1997, when he notched a Group 1 treble in the Prix du Jockey-Club, the Grand Prix de Paris and the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe, trouncing the subsequent Champion Stakes and Japan Cup victor Pilsudski by five lengths in the last of them.

How good a racehorse was Peintre Celebre? Think Sea The Stars and imagine, if you can, one slightly better. At least, that is what the World Thoroughbred Rankings might seem to imply by their respective ratings of 137 and 136.

But that is not quite what we should understand from the figures. It was never Sea The Stars' style to run away and hide from his rivals,as Peintre Celebre did in his Arc; the numbers favour the one with the superior book performance and do not define the inherent ability of either horse.

However we choose to rate Peintre Celebre, he was undoubtedly an athlete of quiteoutstanding merit, by some way superior to an average international champion. He was so good that we could be sure he would never sire a runner as classy as himself; the superstars never do.

Peintre Celebre stood his first season at Coolmore at a fee of Ir65,000gns and is now available at €17,500, which provides a fair indication of how his stud career has gone to date. In truth, the fee at which he started did not so much indicate that he was a great sire in the making as show what an exceptional runner could command at the time.

Sons of Nureyev had always been a bit hit-and-miss and even his promoters did not provide him with great opportunities at the outset. When his early auctioned stock failed to impress the conformation critics, he was leased to Japan for his third northern-hemisphere season, an anything but encouraging sign.

However, the racecourse test duly established that he could get high-class runners, albeit not in substantial numbers. Among his first-crop three-year-olds were the Deutsches Derby winner Dai Jin and Vallee Enchantee, successful in the Hong Kong Vase. Their contemporary Pride blossomed later, collecting her Group 1 triumphs at six in the Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud and Champion Stakes.

The best of the second crop were Pearl Of Love, winner of the Gran Criterium, and Castledale, surprise victor of the 2004 Santa Anita Derby and a Grade 1 scorer for a second time at four, back on grass in theShoemaker Mile. Since his return from Japan he has been represented by European Group 1 winners Sudan (in the Gran Premio di Milano) and Belle Et Celebre (in the Prix Saint-Alary).

There is no doubting Peintre Celebre can get quality runners, and at his 2010 fee - the lowest yet - he might be considered a bargain, but what he surely needs are thoroughly sound mares. He cannot be depended upon to impart toughness to his stock.
Collection's dam Lasting Chance came from a family more renowned for durability than class. She was the best of nine winners from her stakes-winning dam Baildancer, all of whom raced for at least three seasons, five of them earning sums in excess of $100,000.

Lasting Chance was not highly tried in her 13-race career in Canada, but she picked up a Grade 3 event there over 1m1f and retired with earnings of $222,492. Collection, her third foal and second winner, is probably the best runner from the immediate family since Hail To All, hero of the Belmont Stakes in 1965.


SIRE: PEINTRE CELEBRE

Bred by Allez France Stables Ltd in Kentucky. Won 5 (8-12f) of 7 races, viz. 1 out of 2 at 2 years, 4 (inc. Prix Greffulhe-Gr2, Prix du Jockey-Club-Gr1, Grand Prix de Paris-Gr1, Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe-Gr1) out of 5 at 3 years. Earned Ff8,240,000. Timeform 137 at 3.

Not an outstanding physical specimen, but quite well-made, medium-sized individual. Tip-top performer at10-12f, who tended to start sluggishly, but developed high cruising speed and could produce exceptional acceleration.

Effective on any ground. Unlucky in both defeats. Career ended by injury in training shortly before intended return at four.

The best son of his outstanding sire, with more stamina than most, a factor he has in common withTheatrical, Nureyev's best son at stud to date. Dam Listed winner in France and Gr2 winner (12f on grass) in US, impeccably bred, by top-class runner and leading sire out of a Gr3 winner in Britain who was half-sister to outstanding racemare Pawneese (Oaks, Prix de Diane, King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes, etc).

Stands at Coolmore Stud, Fethard, Co. Tipperary, Ireland, at a fee of €17,500. Sire of 9 crops of racing age, including: Dai Jin (Deutsches Derby-Gr1, Aral Pokal-Gr1), Pride (Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud-Gr1, Champion S.-Gr1), Super Celebre (Gr2), Vallee Enchantee (Hong Kong Vase-Gr1), Castledale (Santa Anita Derby-Gr1, Shoemaker Mile S.-Gr1), Mister Monet (Gr2), Pearl Of Love (Gran Criterium-Gr1), Sudan (Gran Premio di Milano-Gr1), Belle Et Celebre (Prix Saint-Alary-Gr1), Katiyra (Gr2), Trincot (Gr2), Night Of Magic (Gr2). Also sire of Gr1 winners in Australia and South Africa.


DAM: LASTING CHANCE

Bred by D. David Moose in Maryland. $13,000 Keeneland November foal. Won 4 of 13 races, viz. 1 out of 3 at 2 years, 2 (inc. 1 Canadian Gr3) out of 7 at 3 years, 1 out of 3 at
4 years. Earned $222,492.

Useful performer in Canada, stakes winner at 1m1f.

Quite well bred. Best of 9 winners out of her dam, a minor stakes winner and half-sister to a stakes-placed winner. Next dam stakes-placed half-sister to 2 stakes winners, out of a winning half-sister to Belmont Stakes winner Hail To All.

To stud at 5 years and dam of: Celtic Saloon (2002 g by Celtic Swing; unraced), Dapple Dawn (2003 f by Celtic Swing; winner), Collection (2005 g by Peintre Celebre; Hong Kong Gr1 winner), Viejo Perro (2006 c by Soviet Star; winner), Lucky Breeze (2007 f by Key Of Luck; unplaced only start to date). Barren to Peintre Celebre in 2004 and 2008, but she has a yearling colt by him and was covered by Duke Of Marmalade in 2009.

 

 

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