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Station master McCoy lands festive feature

By Richard Forristal

AP McCoy was at his assured best in steering the gambled-on Colbert Station to a fantastic coup in the Paddy Power Steeplechase.

The Co Antrim man had the choice of seven JP McManus-owned runners in the valuable handicap, and those that took the hint following his decision to partner Ted Walsh's charge were duly rewarded.

Rathlin and Glenquest cut out much of the early running. However, on just a fifth start over fences, it was Colbert Station, backed from 7/1 into 5/1 favouritism, that emerged to lead between the last two fences, galloping five and a half lengths clear of Romanesco and Last Time D'Albain to claim the €106,800 prize.

Asked if he had tried to sway champion jockey McCoy's decision, Walsh quipped: “I never spoke to AP, he talked to Ruby. Ruby was trying to put him off 'cause he was anxious to ride him. He didn't buy it anyway!

“I thought he had an each-way chance, but no more. He might be an English National horse yet.”

For his part McCoy, winning the race for a first time, added: “Credit must go to Frank Berry (McManus' racing manager) — he was adamant I ride this one.”

Sizing Europe might have been the A-list star in attendance but there was little doubt it was a stunning performance by Jezki in the Future Champions Novice Hurdle that stole the show.

In the Paddy Power Dial-A-Bet Chase, former champion chaser Sizing Europe toughed out a brave two-and-a-half-length victory over Rubi Light at 1/3 for Andrew Lynch.

That was in stark contrast to what happened after the Jessica Harrington-trained Jezki plundered a second Grade One of the month with a superlative burst of speed in the novice hurdle.

Sent off the 11/8 favourite, the four-year-old produced a brilliantly fluent effort that confirmed his status as the leading two-mile novice in the country and saw him thrust to the head of Supreme Novices Hurdle betting.

Jezki is 6/1 favourite from 10/1 for the Festival opener.

Belfast Telegraph


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