where the horse is always the hero
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Posted 2009-03-10 09:15:04  
Collection heads World's second richest Derby

The field for the 2009 Mercedes-Benz Hong Kong Derby has been unveiled and the John Moore-trained Collection is top ranked among the 14 contenders.

(Image: William A Nader, HKJC's Executive Director of Racing, delivers a speech at the 2009 Mercedes-Benz Hong Kong Derby Selections Announcement.)

At HK$16m, the Mercedes-Benz Hong Kong Derby is the richest event on the domestic calendar and is the second most lucrative Derby in the world behind its Japanese equivalent, the Tokyo Yushun. This year's renewal will take place on 22 March over, as always, 2000m at Sha Tin.

"No other local race commands a build-up like the Derby. For any horse, it is a once in a lifetime opportunity and this year's line-up is first class. This year's Derby gives every appearance of being one of the very best in recent history,"said Mr William A Nader, the Club's Executive Director of Racing.

"The Club is very grateful for the sponsorship of Mercedes-Benz in what is now the sixth year of our partnership of the four-year-olds Classic series. We can only hope that this year's race can add to the impressive roster of past winners and international champions, such as Olympic Express, Precision, Vengeance Of Rain, Viva Pataca and Good Ba Ba."

By virtue of his terrific four-lengths-plus slamming of two Derby rivals last weekend, British import Collection is sure to start favourite to give John Moore a third Classic triumph.

Leading trainer Moore is also represented by Kings Falcon, runner-up in the Mercedes-Benz Hong Kong Derby Trial, and Redragtoabull, fourth in the same race.

Winner of the latter event, Unique Jewellery, bids to provide John Size with his first Derby and the champion trainer's bid is bolstered by More Bountiful, runner-up in the Mercedes-Benz Hong Kong Classic Mile in January.

It was Thumbs Up who narrowly prevailed in the Classic Mile and this has long been the target for the Danny Shum trainee. Shum will also be represented by Quick Touch.

Tony Cruz knows more about winning the Derby than most having won it four times as a jockey and twice as a trainer and he will saddle Beauty Forever and Dream Team.

Trainer Paul O'Sullivan won this race two years ago with Vital King and in 2009 he relies on MBHK Derby Trial third home, Legend Of Colour. Fifth in the same race, Roma Pegasus, shall also take his chance for trainer Almond Lee. Meanwhile, Caspar Fownes is on the trail of a first victory in the race with Vigor Delight.

Mr Medici and Plan Ex, runner-up and fourth to Collection on Saturday last, make up the remainder of the field.

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