Irish legend Collins passes away

Curragh-based handler Con Collins, successful with Princess Pati in the Irish Oaks of 1984, died on Tuesday morning at the age of 82.

Curragh-based handler Con Collins, successful with Princess Pati in the Irish Oaks of 1984, died on Tuesday morning at the age of 82.

Collins became suddenly ill on Friday night and was taken to Tallaght Hospital in Dublin, where he passed away peacefully.

Although Princess Pati provided Collins with his biggest win as a trainer, he enjoyed numerous other high-profile successes throughout an extensive career that spanned over 50 years.

Formerly a champion amateur jockey, Collins was better known as a trainer of Flat horses but also saddled winners under the National Hunt code.

He was presented with Horse Racing Ireland’s Contribution to the Industry Award in 2004, a year in which he celebrated Group One success with Chelsea Rose in the Moyglare Stud Stakes.

While attending the first Curragh meeting of the 2005 season, Collins had a leg shattered when he was kicked by a horse in the parade ring.

Despite that incident reducing his mobility considerably, he still often attended the races when time allowed.

Pat Shanahan was in the saddle when Princess Pati scored her Classic success back in 1984 and he has remained involved with the yard ever since.

Speaking from Dubai on Tuesday, he told the Racing Post: “It’s very sad news. I started with Con in 1978 and, in my eyes, he was a legend. He was a genius with horses and a great trainer. He was also a gent to work with and to deal with.”

Among a distinguished list of his peers to give a glowing tribute was John Oxx.

He said: “I knew Con virtually all my life. He was always a very nice man and a very good trainer who always got the best out of his horses. Everyone had great respect for him and it won’t be the same without him around.”

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