Punter transfers success to track

BARRY LICHTER
Last updated 05:00 17/06/2012

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Tony Coombe knows how to strike it rich on the punt – and now he's turning his hand to racing horses with the same success.

The Paeroa accountant shares in the ownership of Ellerslie winner Civics Rock, who won a remarkable fifth race since the start of the year in the Barfoot And Thompson 1200 yesterday

Coombe spent only $2000 for a quarter share in the pony-sized galloper, who has already banked $36,900 for him and his fellow owner, Cambridge trainer Ralph Manning.

But turning a little into a lot comes naturally for this punter, who started honing his selection skills right from his school days more than 40 years ago when he caught the bug from his dad.

In January Coombe spent $100 to claim a $48,000 share of a Tauranga Pick6. That result eclipsed his previous jackpot best when he again outlaid $100 for a $26,000 collect at Te Rapa.

Coombe has dabbled in ownership for a few years but winning a couple of races with the galloper Black Seven was about his best.

That is until Manning talked him into taking small shares in some of the eight yearlings he bought from breeder Ada Parnwell.

Manning recommended he buy into Savabeel gelding Pump Up The Volume, who's had one start for an unlucky fifth, but Coombe used his own instincts to choose Civics Rock.

"I went through them all and he just had something about him. He was pretty small but Ralph said he'd done everything he'd asked of him and he was a real professional."

Manning's assessment proved spot on – after only 14 starts the gelding by unheralded sire Civics has won five races.

But best of all, he's done it in all kinds of conditions. First up, in January, Civics Rock won a sprint at Ruakaka in 1:10.76. In February he scored a double at Wairoa, clocking 1:18.08 on heavy ground.

"He's a pretty handy horse and he goes in every track condition," Manning said.

Civics Rock's versatility will see him keep racing through winter and Coombe will continue with his punting. It's not hard to guess how much he spent, chasing yesterday's terminating Pick6 at Ellerslie.

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- Sunday Star Times

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