by Graeme Kelly
Tragically the death following a stroke suffered in Barcelona of Nick Columb, at 72, came at a time when he still had a great deal to offer the international racing industry.
He was about to sign new three-year contract with the Hong Kong Jockey Club, which would have made him one of the club’s most powerful executives.
In the five years he had been in his role as Senior International Racing Consultant with the HKJC Nick had traversed the globe buying yearlings and raced horses for the club.
He was particularly proud of having purchased, as a yearling, Pakistan Star, who has since developed into an international Group 1 performer.
Nick’s role at the HKJC came after having achieved exceptional success in Australia as a racehorse owner and breeder.
In the 1980s and into the 1990s he was arguably the most successful individual owner on the nation’s racing scene.
Foremost among those to carry his silks in that era was the brilliant Courtza, who won the STC Golden Slipper Stakes and VATC Blue Diamond Stakes in 1989.
Among the other headliners Nick raced were Caulfield Cup winner Imposera, AJC Derby heroine Tristarc and Centaurea, who was ridden to victory in the SAJC Australasian Oaks by Lester Piggott.
Added to that Nick was chairman of the Thoroughbred Racehorse Owners Association for a 15-year period from 1987 to 2001 and served as president of the Footscray Football Club.
He was also a passionate man of strong opinions, which when it came to horse racing proved mostly to be right.
His lively personality and staunch friendship will be missed by all who came to know him.