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What about the Brigadier?

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  • #12825
    cormack15
    Keymaster
    • Total Posts 8992

    I was watching the BBC build up to the Arc which I thought was pretty good generally.

    However, I couldn’t help but feel a little aggrieved on behalf of one of my favourite racehorses after they chose Sea Bird, Nijinsky, Mill Reef and Dancing Brave as the 4 horses that Sea The Stars might join in racing’s list of immortals.

    Whatever happened to Brigadier Gerard? No Derby, no Arc perhaps but only one defeat in 16 races which included a King George, The Champion Stakes twice, a 2,000 Guineas, a St James’s Palace, two QEIIs (by aggregate of 14 lengths), a Sussex Stakes, a Middle Park, a Lockinge, a Westbury Stakes, a Prince of Wales’s Stakes and an Eclipse.

    He met Mill Reef once and beat him comfortably.

    Poor old Brigadier Gerard, as time passes his is the one star that seems to dim in so many memories. He’ll always shine brightly here at Cormack Towers.

    #252004
    Anonymous
    Inactive
    • Total Posts 17716

    Agreed Corm, I’d have Vaguely Noble in there somewhere,too.

    #252015
    Ugly Mare
    Member
    • Total Posts 1294

    Taking this a little further, it saddens me when I read people like Geoff Lewis and Pat Eddery, both of whom should know better, say of Sea The Stars ”he has nothing more to prove”. I can only conclude racegoers today have quite limited expectations of their champions and that one peak season of interest is sufficient to qualify as ”best horse ever seen”.

    For me it doesn’t matter how many Gr. 1’s they win over a 6 month period, a Great, in my book, must show the highest level of ability from 2 – 4, something few are given the chance to prove these days, well, even Sea Bird didn’t all those years ago.

    This is why Mill Reef and Brigadier Gerard will always be better horses for me, as they represent the very few able to maintain, and allowed the opportunity to prove, that kind of form over 3 seasons.

    10f dollar chasing champions such as we get now, – one season wonder’s – don’t do a lot for me, and overall, I think it’s highly detrimental to European racing in general as it sidelines great races like the King George – quickly becoming a back number – and the triple crown which might as well cease to exist for what it’s worth.

    #252024
    Friggo
    Member
    • Total Posts 1593

    I think this was down to ease of comparison, or perhaps I’m giving the programme makers too much credit. The quartet mentioned were all middle-distance horses (admittedly the Brigadier won top races at 10/12f, but he’s probably best known as a miler) who had captured two-thirds of the Guineas/Derby/Arc treble, much the same as Sea The Stars prior to yesterday.

    #252046
    Crepello1957
    Participant
    • Total Posts 739

    Perhaps it’s also that people remember the Brigadier as a poor sire rather than a great racehorse. He also had a quite ordinary pedigree (though he did go back to Pretty Polly).
    I would have put Ribot in there.
    Compared to Sea Bird & Ribot Sea the Stars is a better physical specimen & has a better pedigree. Brigadier Gerard was also a fine physical specimen.

    #252057
    Drone
    Participant
    • Total Posts 5628

    For me it doesn’t matter how many Gr. 1’s they win over a 6 month period, a Great, in my book, must show the highest level of ability from 2 – 4, something few are given the chance to prove these days, well, even Sea Bird didn’t all those years ago.

    This is why Mill Reef and Brigadier Gerard will always be better horses for me, as they represent the very few able to maintain, and allowed the opportunity to prove, that kind of form over 3 seasons.


    The top class 3yo retired in the autumn of his year wanders off to stud leaving me with a lingering and annoying sense of ‘what could have been’.

    The over-riding importance placed on 3yo (juvenile) performance is of course a historical precedent carved on a centuries-old stone by those who believed, and continue to believe, that Flat racing the sport is subordinate to breeding the business; racing the means to breeding’s end

    I’ve little doubt Sea The Stars does warrant comparison with those other 3yo greats such as Dancing Brave, Seabird, Shergar and Vaguely Noble but not – as yet, probably never sadly – with Abernant, Brigadier Gerard, Mill Reef and Ribot who were all proven top class over three seasons. They are mutually exclusive subsets of horse and the former – however devastating they were in their races – cannot and should not be compared with the latter, even if you do have unquestionable faith in the veracity of the weight-for-age allowance in all-aged encounters.

    Many a high-flying 2yo hasn’t trained-on at 3. Why then does the high-flying 3yo have ‘nothing left to prove’ in the year that ends with the Horse emerging from the Colt: 4

    Anyway in answer to the question: Brigadier Gerard is anything but overlooked down my way. As mentioned elsewhere the greatest Flat horse ever in my opinion. Though had I been around when Ribot was waltzing through a 16-race unbeaten career he may have joined BG on the line.

    Incidentally Reet Hard I’d surmise Vaguely Noble tends to be forgotten because other than his win in the Observer Gold Cup (Racing Post Trophy) all his racing was done in France and his 140 rating earnt (if memory serves) solely on his defeat of Sir Ivor in the Arc.

    of boys and men

    #252079
    apracing
    Participant
    • Total Posts 3329

    Excellent post indeed UM.

    The owner is quoted today in the Post as saying in regard to a 4-y-old career ‘what races could he go for that he hasn’t already won’.

    Well maybe, the Dubai World Cup, Prix Ganay, Prince of Wales Stakes, King George and Champion Stakes.

    But what’s wrong with also trying for a repeat in the Eclipse and the Irish Champion, this time giving the weight for age.

    Interesting to note that the top class all aged 12F race at Belmont on Saturday saw the older horss give 5lbs to the 3-y-olds, compared to 8lbs in the Arc, so the w-f-a scale is open to debate.

    I’m not denying he’s a very high class horse, and his Arc performance had a definite ‘wow’ factor for me given the trouble he had early on, but the Brigadier had the versatility to win from 5F to 12F, on firm and heavy, at two, three and four, and he defied some significant penalties when he stepped outside Group 1 company in an era when there were far fewer level weight races than there are now.

    AP

    #252085
    cormack15
    Keymaster
    • Total Posts 8992

    Yes, Crepello, could be the sire factor. Dancing Brave wasn’t great as a sire either but obviously he sits more recently in people’s memories.

    Timeform had Sea Bird top on 145 with the Brigadier just a pound behind on 144.

    #252087
    Himself
    Participant
    • Total Posts 3777

    Brigadier Gerard, over a mile, would have defeated any horse in history – of that I am quite certain. His overall record of 17 wins from 18 starts, encompassing 13 pattern race wins, over three years, from distances from 6f to 12f, is truly exceptional.

    He is right up there with the very best. At the time; 1971/2, I was very much in the Brigadier’s camp over Mill Reef, though I have to concede that had they met over a mile and a half, Mill Reef would have beaten him – and at 10f on soft ground – a surface the Brigadier, although unbeaten on, was not entirely comfortable with. However, on fast ground over 10f, Brigadier would, I am convinced, would have shown too much speed for Ian Balding’s pocket rocket.

    It is interesting to hear Joe Mercer’s view on the all time greatest. Not the Brigadier, as you would imagine. No, he thinks that accolade belongs to Ribot.

    I think it was just an oversight that the Brigadier’s name wasn’t included, or possibly because he never contested the Arc or Derby.

    Vaguely Noble, also trained by Sea Bird’s master trainer, Etienne Pollet, was a superb horse, very much in the Ribot mould. He though, was a soft ground specialist; a resolute galloper who pulverised Sir Ivor when they met in the 68 Arc.

    Had Nijinsky won the Arc, he would probably be hailed as the greatest of all, but his two subsequent defeats, due to mitigating circumstances, takes away some of his illustrious shine. On King George day, he was as good as any horse I have seen.

    What made Sea Bird the best, in my eyes, was his manner of victory; such effortlessness, ease, and authority, and against such top quality opposition. Added to the fact that he was bred from a moderate animal (sire: Dan Cupid ) and a very poor one ( Dam : Sicalade ), it is not pushing the boundaries to suggest that the chestnut colt with the white hind socks was something of a freak – winning all his 3 year old races in a common canter, and never once so much as tapped by his jockey’s whip. The fact that he did not race as a four year old was down to the extortionate amount of money offered to his owner J Ternynck ( Pollet’s brother – in – law) by American magnate, J Galbreath, simply to lease him. Sea Bird was not a huge success at stud, but sired the great Allez France, Sea Pigeon and Gyr – and also good American horse, Little Current.

    Why Sea The Stars should be rated right up there with these greats is simple. He has won six group ones on the trot; the 2,000 gns, the Derby, the Eclipse, the Juddmonte International, the Irish Champion Stakes and The Arc. No horse has ever achieved this – and he beat two course records in the process. His temperament is truly remarkable and exceeds all the aforementioned greats on that score. Only Mill Reef comes close in terms of calmness- but even he had his odd moment of belligerence. Nijinsky, on the other hand was a complete bag of nerves.

    We all have our favourites and we can disagree until the cows come home as to which was best etc and that is what makes this sport so interesting and fascinating.

    Gambling Only Pays When You're Winning

    #252088
    Himself
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    • Total Posts 3777

    oops double post – please delete. :oops:

    Gambling Only Pays When You're Winning

    #252090
    Friggo
    Member
    • Total Posts 1593

    The owner is quoted today in the Post as saying in regard to a 4-y-old career ‘what races could he go for that he hasn’t already won’.

    Just to play Devil’s advocate (I would love for Sea The Stars to stay in training), this isn’t just an issue of achievement, or even greed, as to why he won’t race at 4. Estimates on Sunday (perhaps even before the Arc) valued Sea The Stars at upwards of £50M. If he stays in training next year and, say, does a Mill Reef on the gallops but cannot be saved, then the monetary cost to Mr Tsui will be enormous.

    #252111
    Gingertipster
    Participant
    • Total Posts 29194

    I was watching the BBC build up to the Arc which I thought was pretty good generally.

    However, I couldn’t help but feel a little aggrieved on behalf of one of my favourite racehorses after they chose Sea Bird, Nijinsky, Mill Reef and Dancing Brave as the 4 horses that Sea The Stars might join in racing’s list of immortals.

    Whatever happened to Brigadier Gerard? No Derby, no Arc perhaps but only one defeat in 16 races which included a King George, The Champion Stakes twice, a 2,000 Guineas, a St James’s Palace, two QEIIs (by aggregate of 14 lengths), a Sussex Stakes, a Middle Park, a Lockinge, a Westbury Stakes, a Prince of Wales’s Stakes and an Eclipse.

    He met Mill Reef once and beat him comfortably.

    Poor old Brigadier Gerard, as time passes his is the one star that seems to dim in so many memories. He’ll always shine brightly here at Cormack Towers.

    I don’t see the Brigadier’s light being dimmed at all. Still the bench mark for milers. If there is a miler who does not get the praise he deserves it is El Gran Senor. Not as good as The Brigadier, but his 2000 Guineas was a hot race.

    Think it is quite right for Sea The Stars to be compared to middle distance horses. His 2000 win was very good, but not up to his 1m2f form.

    Value Is Everything
    #252115
    Anonymous
    Inactive
    • Total Posts 17716

    That was the case before the Arc, Friggo, and given that many suggested defeat at Longchamp wouldn’t have tarnished his three-year-old career anyway, it’s an argument that doesn’t hold water.

    To be honest, even I’m beginning to tire of the constant comparisons between Sea The Stars, Mill Reef, Dancing Brave and the like. It’s completely and utterly pointless, and remains impossible to both quantify and qualify.

    Those who witnessed the achievements of Sea Bird, Brigadier Gerard, Mill Reef and Dancing Brave will forever live in the romance of the era, but what they did differed in no way from what Sea The Stars has done – they beat the best around at the time. Their status as truly great racehorses relied, and continues to rely, on the disparity in ability between themselves and their adversaries. And there’s nothing to say that they were worthy opponents in the first place, only the embedded phenomenon of relative class.

    And that’s all it comes down to, relative class. Sea Bird and his counterparts may have been relatively better – something we could only prove with an unworkable extrapolation of form over time – but the suggestion that they were just ‘better’ is unsubstantiable and, in all likelihood, wrong. Relativity has no influence on physical ability and I don’t expect any horse, from any period of history, would be able to cope with the modern thoroughbred.

    Carl Lewis wouldn’t beat Usain Bolt. Time and physique make that a rather one-sided argument. But when considering the dawn of new training methods, the influence of technology, improved medical care and even the make-up of a running track, Lewis’s ability relative to those he beat brings him a lot closer to the Jamaican. Literally, Bolt is different gravy, but relatively, he’s not such a monster.

    #252117
    Roddy Owen
    Participant
    • Total Posts 441

    I loved the Brigadier and especially the reward for John and Jean Hislop who bred him, and I bet him against Mill Reef. I also saw Sea Bird and was on the plane with Pat Eddery when he flew over to ride Dancing Brave
    But if it comes to I/1/2 mile champions he will not make the top five. Sea the Stars certainly would.
    He is something really special and could still be improving. Kinane says the Arc was his easiest race.

    The owner seems a good sport to me, and may run him as a four yo ,and ,given who he is ,might fancy the Eastern races. Can`t see him going to the US though.
    Great to see he has committed to a breeding career in Ireland

    #252119
    apracing
    Participant
    • Total Posts 3329

    Friggo,

    No argument about the financial risk of keeping STS in training and if I owned him, I’m sure I’d be taking the same line at Mr Tsui.

    Then again, I expect the same argument was used when Shergar retired ………

    AP

    #252184
    clivexx
    Participant
    • Total Posts 2215

    This is a great thread and thanks to all the coffin dodgers for their input :)

    Out of all the horses that preceded Dancing Brave, I have always thought that the Brigadeer was definately the one that I would most liked to have followed and the one that would probably have captured my heart

    But as regards STS, the financial risk is staking your house on his success or not . Staking paying the electicity bills in twelve months time. The council tax…

    Tsui has no financial risk. He has won the bloody lottery and has probably never worried about a bill in his life and will certainly never do so

    I am far from being a Dave Spart, but if that is financial pressure, then can i have some?

    #252194
    Rob V
    Member
    • Total Posts 173

    I was in my nappies when Brigadier Gerard graced the turf and so I can only rely on peoples opinions, video footage of his races and his racing stats. Mind you, my dad speaks very highly of BG and often says that nothing would’ve beaten him at a mile.

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