In what is just his second season over fences, Gerri Colombe is on course for a shot at the Cheltenham Gold Cup in March, the feature race of the Cheltenham Festival meeting. If successful, he will give his trainer a second victory in the contest.
Irishman Gordon Elliott has had the Gold Cup in mind ever since his horse made a winning debut over fences at Fairyhouse in November 2022. Since then, he has prevailed in four Grade One races as a chaser.
Elliott’s Gold Cup Hope Expected to Feature in King George
“He’s going to work Friday morning and if everything is okay, he’s going to go to Kempton!”— At The Races (@AtTheRaces) December 12, 2023
All roads to the King George on Boxing Day for Gerri Colombe…
After impressing at Down Royal in the Champion Chase, Elliott is considering making a trip across the Irish Sea with his stable star for the King George VI Chase at Kempton on Boxing Day. Gerri Colombe is the 13/8 favourite in the bet horses online market for the festive feature.
Should he line up at Kempton, it will not be the seven-year-old’s first appearance in the UK. He won the Scilly Isles Novices’ Chase at Sandown back in February, while in April, he landed the Mildmay Novices’ Chase at the Grand National Meeting at Aintree.
Elliott revealed at the start of the season that he expected his horse to run twice before the Cheltenham Festival, so his appearance at Kempton might be his final run ahead of the biggest assignment of his career in March.
One Blip at Cheltenham
Gerri Colombe has suffered just one defeat so far over fences, and that came at the 2023 Cheltenham Festival in the Brown Advisory Novices’ Chase. He had to settle for second place behind The Real Whacker, going down by just a short head in a close tussle towards the finishing line. The pair are expected to renew their rivalry in the Gold Cup.
The Cheltenham Festival runner-up now has an official rating of 167, the highest in his career so far. Should he prevail at Kempton, he could head to Blue Riband in the sport with a mark above 170.
Defending Champion Amongst Entries
𝙂𝙖𝙡𝙤𝙥𝙞𝙣 𝘿𝙚𝙨 𝘾𝙝𝙖𝙢𝙥𝙨 – 𝘽𝙤𝙤𝙙𝙡𝙚𝙨 𝘾𝙝𝙚𝙡𝙩𝙚𝙣𝙝𝙖𝙢 𝙂𝙤𝙡𝙙 𝘾𝙪𝙥 𝙝𝙚𝙧𝙤— Racing TV (@RacingTV) March 17, 2023
🏇 13 runs
🥇 9 wins
🏆 Cheltenham Gold Cup
🏆 Irish Gold Cup
🏆 John Durkan Memorial
👑 Racing has a new Gold Cup king #CheltenhamFestival | @WillieMullinsNH | @PTownend pic.twitter.com/ejWhbtRmiq
Last season’s Gold Cup winner Galopin Des Champs is among the entries for the 2024 contest. He will be bidding to match what Al Boum Photo achieved in 2020 by defending his crown in the 3m2½f race.
The 2023 champion has not been in great form since his Cheltenham triumph. He has been beaten on both of his two appearances at Punchestown, with his latest run coming in the John Durkan Memorial Chase where he was third of six runners.
Former King George VI Chase winner Bravemansgame is also expected to have a shot at the Gold Cup again. He finished second behind Galopin Des Champs last March. He is expected to be one of the strongest challengers from the home-based team, and if victorious, he will give Champion Trainer Paul Nicholls a fifth win in the race.
The 2024 Cheltenham Gold Cup is set to take place on the 15th of March, the final day of the biggest week of the year in Jumps racing.