McCoy strikes with Colbert
Tony McCoy got on the scoresheet when the well-backed Colbert Station led on the run-in to land the Pertemps Handicap Hurdle qualifier at Punchestown.
The 11-10 favourite, running off a much lower mark than his chase rating, had to work fairly hard to overpower Clashnabrook by two lengths after being held up for most of the three-mile trip in a 22-runner affair, but finished strongly.
Last seen winning the Paddy Power Chase at Leopardstown over Christmas, the Ted Walsh-trained nine-year-old holds an entry in the John Smith's Grand National.
Walsh said: "I wouldn't say he was mad about the ground, but he jumps and stays. If he is going to run at Liverpool we'll have to keep him ticking over and today served its purpose.
"We'll be looking at races like the Bobbyjo Chase, the Racing Plus Chase and the Red Mills Chase for him next, but his only minus is his inexperience and he's only had five runs over fences. I'd say a horse has never won the National with only five runs over fences."
Punters had their fingers burnt when Born In Fire sprang a 25-1 surprise in the Anna Gannon 80th Birthday Maiden Hurdle.
The victory was mainly down to champion jockey Davy Russell, who made a decisive move on the Gigginstown House Stud-owned five-year-old when he stole a few lengths on the field as they turned into the straight.
The Mouse Morris-trained gelding then kept on stoutly to hold McCoy's late challenge on the 11-10 favourite Byerley Babe by a length to open his account over hurdles at the third attempt.
Morris said: "Obviously there was something wrong when he ran deplorably badly at Naas, but we never found anything to explain it. He wasn't a bad point-to-pointer, but I'm happily surprised."