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From a young age Nick Columb had a passion for racing that stayed with him to the end.

Columb died in Spain after a stroke as he was preparing to attend yearling sales at Deauville in France in his role as a bloodstock consultant for the Hong Kong Jockey Club.

During the 1980s Columb was a formidable figure teaming with Ross McDonald to claim many Group One victories, starting with Magari, going on to Caulfield Cup wins with Tristarc and Imposera to winning the Blue Diamond and Golden Slipper double with two-year-old Courtza.

Columb was chairman of the Australian Thoroughbred Owners’ Association for almost two decades and was instrumental in providing a voice for owners.

John Alducci worked closely with Columb at TROA.

“With Nick at the helm, he took TROA to another level,” Alducci said.

“Anything he did, he threw everything into it and he was probably the most passionate person I’ve ever come across in racing.”

Columb developed a strong working relationship with Arrowfield Stud and a close friendship John Messara.

“Nick Columb was the staunchest friend, always fearless, constantly innovative and deeply passionate about horse racing and so much else,” Messara said.

“He leaves an unfillable gap in Arrowfield’s world, and so many good memories and reasons to be grateful for his incomparable life.”

Trainer Richard Freedman who, along with his brothers Lee, Anthony and Michael raced horses against Columb during his halcyon years, says he will be missed.

“Really sad to hear of Nick Columb’s passing. He was a very loveable character who added much to Racing over a life well-lived. I will miss him,” Freedman tweeted.

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