Horses To Follow » Sybarite


Sybarite put up a really nice performance to win the Pertemps Qualifier at Cheltenham on Friday. Travelling well throughout, Nigel Twiston-Davies’ horse made nice progress on the inside on the run down the hill, he took it up around the home turn, jumped the final flight well and kept on really willingly up the hill to win nicely.

This is obviously early-season form, but it is solid early-season form. Runner-up Henryville was bidding to land a hat-trick of wins, having won Class 2 handicap hurdles at Newton Abbott and Fontwell, and he travelled really well through the race, while third-placed Clara McCloud is a solid Gordon Elliott-trained handicap hurdler who continues to progress, and the first three were clear. Also, the winning time was good, the fastest comparative time on the day by a fair way.

One of the things that impressed about Sybarite was the manner in which he stayed on for Sam Twiston-Davies. Henryville appeared as a big danger half way up the run-in, but Sybarite appeared to pick up again 100 yards from the winning line to come clear, grabbing the ground willingly and appearing to win with a fair bit more in hand than just the near-three-length winning margin. A promising novice chaser in the autumn of 2011, he missed the whole of the 2012/13 season, but he found the winning seam again last spring, winning his maiden hurdle over three miles on heavy ground at Ludlow in February, and following up by landing a conditional riders’ handicap hurdle over three and a quarter miles on soft ground at Perth in April off a mark of 116. He raced off a mark of 125 on Friday, and the handicapper has raised him to a mark of 133 for that win, but that was merited. He remains progressive enough to go beyond that mark over hurdles, and he should do even better returned to soft ground. Stamina is his thing.

Nigel Twiston-Davies mentioned the Fixed Brush Hurdle at Haydock as a potential target, and that makes a lot of sense. That race is usually run on soft ground, it can turn into a bit of a war of attrition, and his chasing and pointing experience will be an asset over those mini-fences. He would also be of significant interest in a staying handicap chase now. His chase mark of 120 is 13lb lower than his hurdles mark, and he is obviously an improved horse again now since the last time he ran over fences.

17th October 2014