3 minute read
Gerri Colombe made a successful transition to open company when coming with a late rattle to deny Envoi Allen in the Grade 1 Ladbrokes Champion Chase as Gordon Elliott threatens to go through the card at Down Royal.
Gerri Colombe was sent off the 4/7 market leader to give Gordon Elliott a fourth-straight winner on the card but looked to be struggling as stablemate Conflated turned for home in front. Conflated soon came under pressure and it was Envoi Allen, who landed the Grade 1 Ryanair Chase at the Cheltenham Festival last season, who looked to have the race in the bag.
However, Jack Kennedy had other ideas as he conjured a ferocious late rally out of Gerri Colombe, who stayed on powerfully once switched to the inside to deny Envoi Allen by a neck crossing the line. Minella Indo finished back in third.
Paddy Power cut Gerri Colombe to 5/1 from 6/1 for the Boodles Cheltenham Gold Cup, with the same firm introducing him at 10/1 for the King George on Boxing Day.
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.
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."
Following winning six of the seven contests on Down Royal's card yesterday, the trainer has now won all five races at this afternoon's meeting and has notable chances in the remaining two.