An ugly ducking once considered to be heading for a career over jumps can cap off what has been a remarkable year by winning Sunday's Cathay Pacific Hong Kong Vase (2,400m) at Sha Tin. Collier Hill was picked up by Alan Swinbank for around HK$75,000 at an unraced cast-off sale back in 2001 and even the trainer queried the validity of his purchase when the son of Dr Devious walked into his stables. 'This little rabbit of a horse walks off the box - he was very small and there seemed precious little scope about him,' said Swinbank. 'I wondered if I had made a mistake.' The following year Collier Hill made his racecourse debut in a 3,200m event for horses gearing up for a career over obstacles and came though to beat a field of 12 in pedestrian time. Racing Post (UK) best summed up the performance by declaring: 'A winning debut by Collier Hill, who is flat-bred and now likely to run on the level before going over hurdles next season.' But the success had Swinbank a lot more upbeat. 'He started to do his work so easily, and we soon realised that he was a serious machine,' he said. However, after 19 starts, which included seven wins, Collier Hill did make it to a hurdles race at Kelso and turned the 3,400m event into a one-act affair as he strolled away to win by six lengths. His versatility was shown six starts later when he captured his most important prize when lifting a Listed race at Hamilton and incredibly the success was just a sign of things to come. Before too long, Collier Hill claimed some of the biggest scalps in racing when beating Vinnie Roe and Yeats in the Irish Leger and then travelled to Dubai to beat all but the Japanese star Heart's Cry in the Sheema Classic. In his wake on that occasion were the star duo Alexander Goldrun and Ouija Board, who he will clash with again on Sunday. The fairy tale continued in September when the eight-year-old demoralised a field by nine lengths in the Stockholm Cup in Sweden and he arrives in Hong Kong after showing incredible fight to land the Canadian International at Woodbine on October 22. Along for the ride for the last two years has been jockey Dean McKeown, who had just been going through the motions before Collier Hill came into his life, but the 46-year-old is confident that the good times are far from over. 'There must be a good chance that Ouija Board is a bit tired now,' he commented. 'And anyway we've beaten her before in Dubai. 'My horse becomes a champion when he travels abroad - he even changes colour into a deep chestnut. 'I knew we would win the Canadian International last time and I think we are the horse to beat on Sunday.'