Ladbrokes Champion Chase
Grade 1, Down Royal 14:35
€150,000 guaranteed,
5yo plus, 3m   
Saturday 11th November 2023

1 Gerri Colombe 4/7F
2 Envoi Allen 3/1
3 Conflated 17/2
4 ran Distances: nk, 1l, 20l
Time: 6m 25.70s (slow by 40.70s)

Gordon Elliott’s Gerri Colombe was one of a top-class field of four contesting the Grade One, with Elliott and Henry de Bromhead each responsible for two horses.

Throughout much of the race, the quartet traveled in unison, and as they turned for home, any one of them seemed poised to secure victory. However, it was Minella Indo who faltered first, and Gerri Colombe made a sharp switch from one side of the track to the other.

Conflated and Envoi Allen were left to tackle the final jump together, and initially, it appeared that Envoi Allen might have the advantage. Yet, Gerri Colombe, steadily gaining ground on the outside, managed to inch his head in front. In a thrilling finish, under the guidance of Jack Kennedy, Gerri Colombe prevailed as the 4-7 favorite.

Elliott said: “We were delighted with him – we knew there would be improvement in him today, his first run in open company.

“As Brian (Acheson, of owner Robcour) said, he only came back in on September 19, so there’s loads of improvement.

“We’ll have one run now and then the Gold Cup. He showed that he is in the mix now for the Gold Cup, he stays very well and that’s what you need.

“I was delighted that he settled into a rhythm, the other horse (Conflated) was going a bit left and was taking Jack’s horse’s eye off the fence a bit. I was a bit worried the whole way because Conflated does go left, but I did tell Jack to give him a bit of light and get him into a rhythm.

“Jack said he was a bit rusty early, but I thought he was pretty much foot-perfect apart from one for a novice stepping into open company. The sky is the limit.

“He’s a great horse because he shows you absolutely nothing at home – he’s very laid-back, he’s a gentleman.”

Gerri Colombe has suffered just one defeat under rules, when edged out in last season’s Brown Advisory Novices’ Chase at the Cheltenham Festival.

BetGoodwiin

Elliott added: “We were all gutted coming out of Cheltenham last year, it just didn’t happen for us on the day but, in fairness to Brian, he said ‘we will be back here in 12 months time’.

“Willie’s horse (Mullins, Galopin Des Champs) is very, very good but this horse has a great attitude and, as I said, he is only back in eight weeks. That’s why I think three miles and two furlongs is going to suit him perfectly.”

Gerri Colombe was cut from 6-1 to 5-1 for the Cheltenham Gold Cup with bookmakers Coral, but Acheson intends to cross that bridge when he comes to it in March.

“I thought he was beaten three or four times over,” he said.

“In March we have to come up against the best horse, I think, since Kauto Star in Galopin (Des Champs) and a lot of water under the bridge until then. He (Galopin Des Champs) is a rocket.

“Let’s try to get to March first and then we’ll worry about it.

“It’s great for your man (Elliott), he always said ‘we will be fine for Down Royal’.

“The horse is back in eight weeks and he was in Puppy (Robbie) Power’s for six weeks doing dressage and stuff like that. That horse will come on plenty from that.”

Tebwin

Ladbrokes Champion Steeplechase
€150,000 guaranteed, 5yo plus, 3m
4 ran
Going: Soft, Yielding to Soft in places

POS. DIST HORSE AGE WGT TRAINER JOCKEY SP
1    Gerri Colombe 7 11-10 Gordon Elliott Jack Kennedy 4/7F
2
nk Envoi Allen 9 11-10 Henry De Bromhead Rachael Blackmore 3/1
3 1 Conflated 9 11-10 Gordon Elliott Sam Ewing 17/2
4
20 Minella Indo 10 11-10 Henry De Bromhead Darragh O'Keeffe 17/2

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