Past Winners » Gevrey Chambertin


(Message of 20th November)

… There are lots of reasons for believing that Saturday’s Fixed Brush Hurdle at Haydock has been on Gevrey Chambertin’s radar for a while, and he is worth backing now at 8/1 or 9/1. It is easy to see him go off a lot shorter than that on the day.

For starters, David Pipe loves this race. He won it with Grands Crus in 2010 and he won it with Dynaste in 2011, and both of those horses obviously progressed to be miles better than handicap ratings for this race of 132 and 141 respectively. Even last year, when he didn’t win it, his two representatives Knight Pass and Katkeau were sent off at 6/1 and 7/1 respectively. This is obviously a race that the Pipe team target with potentially high-class horses.

There is no doubt that Gevrey Chambertin is a potentially high-class horse. A full-brother to Grands Crus, and winner of a bumper on heavy ground on his racecourse debut, he won his first three hurdle races last season, (winning the second of them at this track over these obstacles at this meeting last year), and easily winning over two and a half miles at Wincanton on the third of those runs in January on his handicap debut off a mark of 130.

Sent off the 9/4 favourite for the Martin Pipe race at the Cheltenham Festival in March, he missed the start, had to do a lot of running through the race, and simply faded from the third last. Circumstances conspired against him, and there is a chance that he doesn’t go as well at Cheltenham as he does on flat tracks. All his runs before that had been on flat tracks.

He went to Aintree for his final run last season, when he ran well for a long way, leading to the second last flight, before he was just outclassed by At Fishers Cross. He probably didn’t get home either over that extended three miles and a furlong on easy ground in that class, having been ridden aggressively.

As a five-year-old – the same age as Grands Crus and Dynaste were when they won this race – who has raced just five times over hurdles, he has huge scope for progression, and the handicapper has dropped him 2lb back down to a mark of 143, which is a bonus.

He will obviously have to stay, but this is three miles exactly, not three miles and half a furlong, and Haydock is not as stamina-sapping as Aintree, where they go for home from a long way out. Also, he has had another summer’s worth of strengthening. On top of that, it looks like the ground is not going to ride nearly as soft on Saturday as it historically has done for this meeting, there is no rain forecast from Thursday to Saturday, and that will suit Gevrey Chambertin well.

He is probably at his best when he is fresh, now could be the time to catch him, and it is probable that his trainer has had this race in mind for him for a while.

Of course, there are many dangers. Last year’s winner Trustan Times is only 6lb higher now than he was 12 months ago, and Master Of The Sea would come into it strongly if the rains arrived, but Gevrey Chambertin is the bet.