Colbert Station lands gamble for dream team


RACING: LEOPARDSTOWN FESTIVALThe sponsors reckoned Colbert Station’s gambled-on 5 to 1 success in yesterday’s Paddy Power Chase cost them over half a million but the exposure pay-off in terms of the winning connections must have been a sponsorship dream.

Having Tony McCoy in the first colours of legendary owner JP McManus on a big-race winner trained by RTÉ’s high-profile pundit Ted Walsh had the cameras flashing at Leopardstown.

There was even triple-Major-winning golfer Pádraig Harrington standing in for photos too and while riotous “underdog” scenes at pulling off a hugely-lucrative €190,000 pot were absent, there was an undoubted sense of satisfaction at a job well done in the winner’s enclosure.

McManus threw seven hopefuls at a race he relishes winning, but had been out of luck in for eight years, and Colbert Station was backed from 8 to 1 into favouritism despite a massive morning gamble on Glam Gerry and support for a number of others too.

Green and gold

Ultimately McManus’s green and gold colours were on four of the first eight home and McCoy got it right, guiding the winner clear of a chasing pack of outsiders, headed by the 25 to 1 Romaesco.

“Frank Berry (McManus’s racing manager) is a quiet man but he was as adamant as he gets that I ride this one,” the British champion jockey said.

“And Ruby (Walsh) was humming and hawing a while ago about what I might ride so I thought that was a good sign about one trained by his father!”

Ted Walsh nominated the English National as a possible aim for the winner later in the season but understandably proclaimed yesterday was the day for Colbert Station. “From the time any horse is handicapped this is the kind of race you have in your head,” he said.

“I thought he had a good each-way chance and he had a good man on his back, but I was surprised he picked him. Like Your Style was second in a Troytown and Alfie Sherrin was third in an Irish National but he still picked ours.

“They went a ferocious gallop which suited our horse and got a lot of the others out of their comfort zone. And I was surprised how well he travelled through the race on that ground,” Walsh added.

Some firms introduced Colbert Station at 25 to 1 into the National market. Walsh secured a famous Aintree success with Papillon in 2000.

Better luck

The trainer’s daughter-in-law Nina Carberry chased home Colbert Station on Romanesco while the 33 to 1 Last Time D’Albain and Glenquest at 20 to 1 filled the placings.

Carberry had better luck in the following bumper, nursing Mullaghanoe River past Wedding Present in the final hundred yards to win by half a length. “I was disgusted he got beaten the first day (runner-up to Thunder And Roses at Naas.) He would never have won whatever the distance,” winning trainer Noel Meade said.

“But he’s very big and a little bit innocent still. I think we’ll go hurdling in the Spring and chasing next season,” the former champion trainer added.

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