How many times was Brigadier Gerard beaten during his career?
Awarded a Timeform Annual Rating of 144, equivalent to Tudor Minstrel and inferior to just Frankel (147) and Sea-Bird (145) in the Timeform era, Brigadier Gerard raced eighteen times between June, 1970 and October, 1972 and won all bar one of his races.
Bred and owned by John Hislop, trained by Major Dick Hern and ridden, exclusively, by Joe Mercer, the son of Queen’s Hussar was unbeaten as a two-year-old and as a three-year-old and did not taste defeat until the sixth start of his four-year-old campaign, or his sixteenth start in all. Defeat came at the hands of Roberto, the Derby winner, in the inaugural running of the Benson and Hedges Gold Cup – now familiarly known as the Juddmonte International – over a mile and a quarter at York on August 15, 1972.
Ridden by Panamanian-born American Braulio Baeza, who had been recruited by trainer Vincent O’Brien on the advice of owner John Galbreath, Roberto made all the running and passed the post three lengths ahead of Brigadier Gerard, with Gold Rod a further ten lengths further behind in third place. Joe Mercer later claimed, controversially, that Brigadier Gerard was a sick horse at York and that ‘mucus poured out of him’ afterwards. Brigadier Gerard may have just about reached Roberto’s quarters inside the last quarter of a mile or so, but the Derby winner, who was priced, rather insultingly, at 12/1, pulled away again in the closing stages to win in a course record time of 2 minutes, 7.1 seconds.