What They Say! - Mark Collins
When did your start your career as a groom?
I started my career as a groom around 1998 but I was involved in the sport from a younger age as I wanted to become a jockey but that didn't work out for me. I then began to swim horses with Patrick Chang before he became a trainer and that path led me to the grooming of horses which I like a lot.
Which horse was your first winner?
My first winner was with a horse named French Bill. Allen Maragh was the jockey and he rode a wonderful race that day going over 1,000 metres straight, I was working at Richard Azan stables at that time. I was very happy with my first win knowing that my hard work really paid off.
Which horse was your longest odds winner?
My longest odds winner was First K Boy with Richard Mairs aboard at 20-1 going 1,000 metres straight. I was at Gresford Smith at the time. I knew that this horse was a 'soup' that day so I was quite surprised that he went off at such long odds, it was a gift.
Which is the best horse that you have groomed?
To be honest, the best horse that I groomed so far was the Richard Azan-trained Neftenga. Neftenga was a brilliant race horse, he was very consistent and he would give you his best at all times. I won the Caribbean Sprint Cup with him. Just a true champion.
Which is the best horse that you have seen race at Caymanas Park?
I have seen a lot of talented race horse, there were Menudo, Mark My Word, A King Is Born, Terremoto, Blumenthal, Royal Dad, Miracle Man and many more, but for me I would say that Legal Light is the best horse that I have seen race at Caymanas Park. Legal Light was an exceptional racehorse, always winning races impressively while carrying top weight.
Who influenced your career the most?
Since I am in the racing industry everyone has been good to me. But I would like to single out trainers Richard Azan, Gresford Smith and Fitzroy Glispie for their continual support and encouragement and up to this day they are still giving me guidance. I also want to thank the mother of my child, Latoya Sutton for her belief in me and for making sure that I am up early in the mornings for work.