RACINGPOST.COM - Gemix too good for his Auteuil rivals once again
June 7, 2014
RACINGPOST.COM By Peter Scargill 3:25PM 8 JUN 2014
Report: France, Sunday
Auteuil: Grande Course de Haies d'Auteuil (Grade 1 hurdle) 3m1½f, 5yo+
GEMIX (Nicolas Bertran de Balanda/David Cottin) secured back-to-back victories in France's Champion Hurdle with Zarkandar the first home of the British and Irish raiders in third.
Thousand Stars and Diakali, two of Willie Mullins's three runners, duelled up front in the early stages before Cottin moved Gemix through the lead at the halfway stage, a tactic he had employed when nearly winning the Grade 1 Prix Alain du Breil earlier on the card.
While Cottin was caught in the closing stages of the Prix Alain du Breil he was never in any danger on Gemix after the six-year-old cleared the final two hurdles, albeit in clumsy style.
Bertran de Balada said: "The key thing for this horse is that he is much better on good ground. He can really accelerate in these conditions and that is so important at the end of 5,100 metres"
Gemix finished clear of compatriot Le Grand Luce with Zarkandar staying on from the rear to claim third, narrowly in front of Diakali.
Paul Nicholls, trainer of Zarkandar, said: "We thought he would improve for his last experience. That was his first time in blinkers which suited him, he ran a blinder and stayed on strongly."
Mullins admitted that Diakali and Thousand Stars hampered each other in racing too fast too soon and said: "My two horses just caused each other problems. Diakali took on Thousand Stars and it didn't do either of them any good. Zaidpour was doing his best work at the end and picked up some nice prize-money."