herald

Friday 18 August 2017

Colbert's in frame for National after Paddy Power win

TED WALSH is a trainer who doesn't get the credit he deserves for being as good as he is at his profession.

Yes, he'll often earn the plaudits for producing two of the finest jockeys in the sport in Ruby Walsh and top amateur Katie Walsh, but as a trainer, he is one of the finest.

Walsh saddled 15 winners last season from 55 runners in Ireland earning him a strike-rate of 27pc, a figure that was only bettered by Dermot Weld and Willie Mullins from those who got their winners tally into double figures.

Colbert Station was Walsh's seventh winner this season when he won the lucrative Paddy Power Chase at Leopardstown yesterday and that would be from just 24 runners and without last season's flag-bearer Seabass.

Last season, Walsh produced Seabass to win five on the bounce despite being difficult to train and that season ended when he finished third in the Aintree Grand National.

A return to that race has always been the plan for Seabass who is due back in action next month, but for Colbert Station, he became a live Grand National hopeful after an impressive display in the Paddy Power Chase.

Memorable

In the colours of JP McManus and under the guidance of his retained jockey Tony McCoy, Colbert Station was flawless throughout and looked a likely winner a good way out to give the trainer and all connections a memorable win.

"I thought he had an each-way chance," said the winning trainer. "He surprised me by how well he travelled through the race. They went a fierce pace out in front and that suited my fella.

"We had this race in mind for a while, like all the others in it, but I was a bit disappointed with him in Navan, we had a few quid each way on him but Roi Du Mee was very well in and he prefers nice ground."

Winning owner JP McManus had seven runners in the race and McCoy had the choice from six and Walsh revealed: "I never spoke to AP once. He spoke with Ruby alright and Ruby was trying to put him off as he was keen to ride him himself! But AP had the choice and he had a fair handle on it and he picked our lad over Alfie Sherrin who was third in an Irish National and Like Your Style who was second in a Troytown."

McCoy added: "Frank Berry (JP McManus racing manager) was as adamant as Frank ever would be as to which horse I should ride so I owe this one to Frank but Ruby did ask me a couple of weeks ago what I was doing for the Paddy Power so I thought to myself that must be a bit of a clue as he didn't want me to ride him!"

On a future target Walsh concluded: "He might be an English National horse. He's turning nine so we may as well go for it now."

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