Horses To Follow » Guerre


It was difficult not to be impressed with the performance that Guerre put up in winning the listed five-furlong race at Naas on Monday.

Quickly settled in second place behind early leader Allegra Tak on the far side, Aidan O’Brien’s horse travelled easily at pace in Joseph O’Brien’s hands. Moving up on the outside of the leader at the two-furlong pole, he changed gear when his rider asked him to, quickly putting two lengths between himself and his closest pursuer. Nocturnal Affair and Maarek did give chase, but it never really looked like they were going to make inroads into Guerre’s lead, and the War Command colt kept on well all the way to the line to post an impressive victory.

There were several noteworthy elements to this performance. Firstly, Guerre is just a three-year-old, he was running in just his third ever race, and he was taking on hardened top class sprinters like Maarek and Nocturnal Affair, as well as the well-backed and well-fanced Scream Blue Murder, and he beat them all well. Also, he was making his seasonal debut, and he was racing over the minimum trip for the first time in his life. Both his runs last term as a juvenile were over six. It is reasonable to expect significant improvement from this.

It is difficult to gauge the relative merits of race times on the evening at Naas on the re-laid track. All the times were faster than you might have expected, and it may be that we have to have a few more meetings on the new surface before race times can be accurately gauged. The thing that is relevant is that Guerre’s winning time was almost 1.3secs faster than the time in which the other five-furlong race on the card was run, but that was a juvenile fillies’ maiden, so you would expect that.

There is no telling how good Guerre could be now as a sprinter. He obviously needs to improve from this if he is to challenge for top sprinting honours, and three-year-olds can struggle against their elders in the sprint division, but this was an excellent start to his three-year-old year. He showed plenty of pace here, but he could also excel over six furlongs. He could be a Royal Ascot horse now, and both the King’s Stand and the Golden Jubilee are legitimate targets.

27th April 2014