Irish chaser Gerri Colombe ended last season as one of the leading novices on either side of the Irish Sea.
He won four of his five races, with his only defeat coming in the Brown Advisory Novices’ Chase at the Cheltenham Festival where he finished second to The Real Whacker, going by a short head.
Davy Russell and Gerri Colombe return to the winner’s enclosure after an impressive Mildmay Novices’ Chase success pic.twitter.com/e88hxoblcl
— PA Racing (@PAracing) April 14, 2023
Gordon Elliott’s runner is likely to feature in many of the leading 3m races this season, starting first with the Betfair Chase at Haydock. Irish horse A Plus Tard won that contest in 2021 before landing the Cheltenham Gold Cup later in the season.
If he lines up at the Lancashire racecourse, it will be his first appearance on a track in seven months. Elliott will be keeping a close eye on the weather forecast before the big race, as he will be hoping the ground is not too heavy for his horse’s seasonal reappearance.
A Big Run Expected from Elliott’s Star Chaser
Gerri Colombe has odds of 5/1 for those looking to place horse racing online bets on him for the 2023 Betfair Chase. He will be looking to follow in the footsteps of Bristol De Mai, Lostintranslation, A Plus Tard and Protektorat, horses who have all won the race at the age of seven in the last five renewals.
Elliott’s runner should have no problems with the distance at Haydock as he showed he had the stamina when winning at Aintree over the distance of three miles and one furlong in the Mildmay Novices’ Chase at the Grand National Meeting back in April. He also powered up the hill at Cheltenham when falling just short in the Brown Advisory Novices’ Chase.
Protektorat is magnificent in the G1 @Betfair Chase
— Racing TV (@RacingTV) November 19, 2022
The Irish horse is set to face the 2022 race winner, Protektorat, who will be bidding to become just the fourth runner in history to defend their crown in the race. The three-mile contest may also include Aintree Bowl winner Shishkin as he bids for more glory over this distance for trainer Nicky Henderson.
Gold Cup the Primary Target This season
Elliott has made it clear that the Cheltenham Gold Cup will be the primary target for Gerri Colombe in the 2023/24 campaign. He has also stated that his horse is likely to run two or three times before appearing at the Cheltenham Festival in the Blue Riband event of the meeting.
Gerri Colombe also has entries in the John Durkan Memorial Chase at Punchestown in late November and the King George VI Chase at Kempton on Boxing Day. Both of those races are likely to come under consideration too, as he bids to get experience against the established chasers in his division.
Elliott knows exactly what type of horse is required to win the Cheltenham Gold Cup as he did so with Don Cossack in 2016. He will be hoping his second-season chaser can emulate the horse that was also owned by Gigginstown Stud.
This year’s Betfair Chase will be the 19th running in history at Haydock. If successful, Gerri Colombe could establish himself as the early for the Cheltenham Gold Cup in March.