Gerri Colombe (Picture: Mark Cranham (Racing Post))
Irish gelding has been backed for Kempton’s Boxing Day showpiece after setbacks for other contenders
At The Races
Gordon Elliott has stressed “everything is open” for Gerri Colombe as bookmakers took evasive action anticipating a Boxing Day appearance in the Ladbrokes King George VI Chase.
Following his winning return at Down Royal, Elliott had mentioned Leopardstown’s festive feature, the Savills Chase, or the Cotswold Chase on Cheltenham’s Festival Trials Day card would be the destination for the next step on the seven-year-old’s path to the Cheltenham Gold Cup in March.
But with both defending champion Bravemansgame and Nicky Henderson’s Shishkin fluffing their lines at Haydock and Ascot respectively over the weekend, the Cullentra House handler sent the King George market spinning when briefly suggesting a trip to Kempton was possible in an interview following the victory of Imagine at Punchestown on Sunday.
Gerri Colombe has since attracted significant support in the King George market, usurping Bravemansgame as the favourite with some layers.
However, speaking to the PA news agency on Monday, Elliott confirmed no decision has been made yet, with conditions nearer the time set to determine Gerri Colombe’s next move.
“Everything is still kind of up in the air and everything is open,” said Elliott.
“We’ve got the King George, Leopardstown and the race at Cheltenham. There’s no decision made, we will just wait to see what the ground is and make a decision nearer the time.
“We won’t know for two weeks what we are doing.”
When asked if the drama-filled events over the weekend make saddling a first King George runner since Don Cossack in 2015 more tempting, Elliott added: “To be honest, I just worry about my own horse, I don’t worry about anyone else.”
Don Cossack was a late faller when sent off 15-8 favourite for Kempton’s Christmas showpiece that year, before going on to taste Gold Cup glory the following March.
And the Robcour-owned Gerri Colombe is also currently disputing favouritism with Willie Mullins’ Galopin Des Champs at the head of the Gold Cup betting.