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Mercer On Brigadier Gerard & Roberto

General discussion about Uk, Irish and International horse racing
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stilvi

Postby stilvi on 22 Jul 2009, 17:44

Piece about the King George in yesterday's Racing Post although for me the most interesting part was about Brigadier Gerard's only defeat. Not sure if this is common knowledge but the inference was that the York defeat was purely down to the favourite being a sick horse. Looking at it from the Roberto angle I had always thought of this as being one of those one-off exceptional performances - possibly one of the best ever. If Brigadier Gerard was that sick how did he manage to trounce the rest of the field? Perhaps it was a combination of circumstances but it looks to the eye as if Roberto ran the finish out of him. Admitedly, the ground was a factor but all the Brigadier's closest contests were at 1m2f or above and he was undoubtedly best at a mile. Personally, I suspect Mill Reef would have beaten him at both 1m2f and 1m4f.

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insomniac

Postby insomniac on 22 Jul 2009, 19:19

I can't buy the Brigadier was a sick animal excuse either. In defeat he broke, I believe, the previous 10f track record - not bad for an invalid. It always struck me that Roberto was an animal more maligned for his icon-busting of Brigadier Gerard than praised for his own tip-top ability. On his day, Roberto was capable of beating any of his peers over 10f - 12f. What a pity he didn't always show his top form and that when he did, he went and beat a public favourite.
I doubt if many would argue that Mill Reef was the better 12f horse, but over 10f?

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Himself

Postby Himself on 22 Jul 2009, 21:28

Everyone was astonished when Brigadier Gerard lost the inaugural running of the Benson & Hedges Gold Cup ; a race, incidentally, which was devised so that Mill Reef and Brigadier Gerard could meet again, as Mill Reef had to miss the '72 Eclipse due to injury.

Roberto was ridden solely to try and take the sting out of The Brigadier's finishing speed and Joe Mercer, like everyone else, must have been totally surprised by the pace and the gallop which Roberto maintained all the way to the line.

Brigadier Gerard had a very hard race at Ascot three weeks previously in the King George and was bound to be feeling the effects.

Joe Mercer is adamant that Brigadier Gerard was a sick horse that day at York and his theory is supported by none other than Geoff Lewis ( Mill Reef's jockey), who rode the Ian Balding trained Bright Beam in the same race at York, and he had commented to his trainer before hand in the parade ring that The Brigadier "doesn't look himself today" - and Ian Balding agreed.

Roberto put up a freakish performance at York, and I doubt if even Mill Reef could have lived with him that day.

It speaks volumes for Dick Hern's great colt that he soon bounced back after this shock defeat; winning his final two races, at Ascot (1m QE11) and Newmarket ( Champion Stakes ).
Gambling Only Pays When You're Winning.

 

Anonymous

Postby Anonymous on 22 Jul 2009, 22:25

You know some people have so much racing experience that they can tell at glance if a horse is right or he's not right.

Saying you don't buy into something by throwing times into the pot is hardly casting a professional eye over a horse to judge his performance.

There is little doubt Roberto was given a great ride that day that day but just watching the Brigadier with his old head cocked to the right and not striding out in his usual manner told a lot of good judges he wasn't quite himself. Something as "H" points out 2 top jockeys spotted prior to the race and many including Joe mercer thought during the race

Maybe they were all shell shocked and felt they had to make excuses but horses are like humans and we can all have our off days.

One day you can run up a flight of stairs and couldn't blow out a candle the next day you could be puffing and blowing like an old steam train and not even make it to the top.

We saw Kauto Star run like a cow behind Denman and Ruby telling everyone the horse wasn't himself but many people didn't buy that either. Did they "H"? :P

A year later some of the same people were saying he wasn't himself and Denman would never beat him when he's right. Hell they are now saying he's the best since Arkle and Denman doesn't get a mention.

99 times out of a hunderd the Brigadier would have beaten Roberto. It is simply much more likey that the Biragadier a had an off day than Roberto
went from being a very good horse to a brilliant champion for the period of that race. He simply wasn't that good.





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cormack15

Postby cormack15 on 23 Jul 2009, 01:34

Sick horses don't beat course records, simple as that.

Brigadier Gerard is one of my favourite horses but he was beaten fair and square that day. Much credit to the jockey on Roberto I think. Roberto isn't given the credit he deserves really. He was best going left-handed and when he encountered fast ground, both of which he got at York and which enabled such a superlative performance. On such conditions he was absolutely top class, no argument.

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Venusian

Postby Venusian on 23 Jul 2009, 03:00

I seem to remember reading somewhere that BG had a snotty nose on his return home from the York race.

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andyod

Postby andyod on 23 Jul 2009, 10:01

Whatever about the snotty nose he certainly had a bruised ego when he returned home..

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seabird

Postby seabird on 23 Jul 2009, 12:19

Interesting point, Andy, do horses have egos?

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insomniac

Postby insomniac on 23 Jul 2009, 23:05

From "Timeform Racehorses of 1972"
"Those resolute enough to fight their way through the enormous crowd to the paddock must have been impressed by the well-being of Brigadier Gerard... He looked magnificent AS WELL AS WE HAD EVER SEEN HIM...


From "The Brigadier" by John Hislop

There was no excuse: Roberto had galloped faster and reached the winning post first and that was all there was to it.
My first feeling was of remorse - not at defeat, ...but that I had let the Brigadier down by running him in the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes which had taken the edge off him without my realising it. But the fantastically fast time, which stood up as reliable when compared with other times that day, and the fact that the video tape showed the Brigadier to have finished no less than seventeen lengths - the judge gave it as ten lengths - in front of Gold Rod...suggested that the Brigadier HAD RUN UP TO FORM."


Hislop does go on to recount though how Geoff Lewis had thought he didn't look his usual self and would get beat. He also goes on to say that, after the race, the horse looked fine but did produce mucus on the way home.
(That in itself proves nothing, how many top footballers do you see shooting out a pavement-whelk from one nostril mid game? Are they all unwell too?).

39 days later, not 109 days or 99 days or even 49 days, but 39 days later, the horse some now want to say was poorly during the York race in which he broke the old course record and stuffed the admirably consistent decent-class Gold Rod by further than he'd done in any previous encounter REAPPEARED and handsomely won ASCOT's QE11 stakes.
One might add that at York, Brigadier Gerard also, managed to stuff the not inconsequential Rheingold by an official 12 lengths. Not bad for an invalid.
I was a big fan of the Brigadier and was, like many, gutted to see him beaten. But it's too easy to make excuses; all the other evidence (time, distances in front of 3rd 4th, Winner's capacity to run a cracker every so often) suggest Brigadier Gerard ran a blinder at York, but that Roberto was simply a better horse when he was at his best than the Brigadier was. Where Brigadier Gerard beats Roberto though was on consistency; he never ran a stinker (not even at York); Roberto sometimes did. Maybe that's why so many refuse to believe that, on his day, Roberto was the better racehorse.. But let's not forget Roberto's good days, not just at York. He also won the Anglesey and National Stakes at two, the Derby at three and the CoronationCup at four. He was also second, beaten a half length I think, in the 2,000 guineas. Why do so many find it so hard to believe that Roberto upped his game at York but so readily want to believe that Brigadier Gerard had an off-day? He clearly didn't.

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Zorro

Postby Zorro on 24 Jul 2009, 02:25

Amazed no-one's mentioned the 'stung by bee' theory. Must be because all the posters on this thread seem to be of the sensible and erudite faction.
What about the weight for age aspect? Was the concession more than a four year old should give a three year old in August? Was the otherwise admirable Admiral wrong? But that's not an excuse. Just a question.
Braulio Baeza certainly made a huge difference. By riding Roberto in the American gate to wire style he did pull the finish out of the Brigadier. But I still can't believe it even now.
Course record aside though, how did that run at York compare with Brigadier's slaughter of subsequent Irish Derby winner Steel Pulse in the Prince of Wales at Ascot. I always thought that was his greatest performance.

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Drone

Postby Drone on 24 Jul 2009, 13:45

Zorro wrote:
Braulio Baeza certainly made a huge difference. By riding Roberto in the American gate to wire style he did pull the finish out of the Brigadier. But I still can't believe it even now. .


Agreed

Long been of the opinion that this was a 'jockey's race' and Baeza, with the typically-American pace 'n' fraction clock embedded in his grey matter rode Mercer to sleep on a damn good horse in receipt of WFA who just wasn't quite so damn good as the Brigadier.

I was second to none in my admiration for Smokin' Joe's quiet accomplished style; his beautiful hands and heels riding of Bustino compared to the ugly flailing of Eddery in 'that' race still causes the eyes to mist over, but at York he was shown up - like so many British riders before and since - by the all-things-time nous of a (South) American on a familiar LH flat 10f

Brigadier Gerard neither needs nor deserves any other excuses.

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stilvi

Postby stilvi on 24 Jul 2009, 17:41

Zorro wrote:Course record aside though, how did that run at York compare with Brigadier's slaughter of subsequent Irish Derby winner Steel Pulse in the Prince of Wales at Ascot. I always thought that was his greatest performance.


If I remember correctly the Irish Derby was the only race Steel Pulse won as a three year old and that was a shock. None of the Brigadier's form over 1m2f+ matched what he achieved over a 1m. Despite the small field the 2,000 Guineas he ran away with must have included the winners of more major 2yo races than almost any renewal.

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The Vintner

Postby The Vintner on 27 Jul 2009, 04:00

That race was won by Baeza, pure and simple.
One of the greatest, if not the greatest, rides of all times. The man had an amazing internal chronometer.


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