Horses To Follow » Gwencily Berbas

Gwencily Berbas

Gwencily Berbas put up an impressive performance to win the Grade 3 four-year-olds’ hurdle at Naas last Sunday. Send into a share of the lead from flagfall, and left in a clear lead when Hostile Fire fell at the first flight, his jumping throughout was really good. His two remaining rivals closed up on him at the third last, and Petite Parisienne appeared to be travelling better at the second last, but Alan Fleming’s horse picked up nicely between the final two flights, and he cleared away on the run-in to win by eight lengths.

This was a good performance by the Nickname gelding. Favourite Petite Parisienne was making her seasonal debut, and she may well come on for it, but she was not especially weak in the market, and Gwencily Berbas was also making his debut. The winner jumped well and he cleared away well on the run in, leaving the impression that he could improve for a step up in trip.

An impressive winner of what turned out to be a largely uncompetitive three-horse Grade 2 juveniles’ contest on his debut in Ireland for Barry Connell and Alan Fleming last February, Gwencily Berbas was pitched into the Fred Winter Hurdle at Cheltenham on his second, and he didn’t fare badly in finishing ninth under 11st 8lb, appearing to get a little outpaced when they quickened before keeping on. He didn’t race again last season, connections were obviously being patient with a horse that they appear to hold in high regard.

The Hatton’s Grace Hurdle was mentioned as a possible next target and, while initial impression is that that may be flying a bit high, taking on Annie Power at this stage of his career, it may make sense as a next step. The step up to two and a half miles should suit him, and there is often a small field for the Hatton’s Grace. At least we will get a better indication of where he stands if he does take his chance in the Fairyhouse race. It is not always easy for four-rising-five-year-old hurdlers, but Gwencily Berbas is progressive and he is an exciting prospect for the season ahead over hurdles. He is also an exciting chaser for the future.

7th November 2015