Horses To Follow » Byker


Byker put up a good performance to finish a close-up third behind Sir Allen in the four-year-olds’ rated novices’ hurdle that opened proceedings at Naas last Saturday. He was keen through the early stages of the race, but he travelled well into the home straight. He travelled best of all on the approach to the second last flight, but he just got a little out-paced when the leaders quickened in front of him. Taken towards the outside by Philip Enright on the run to the final flight, he stayed on well up the run-in to finish third, beaten less than two lengths by the winner Sir Allen.

t was a good performance by Charles Byrnes’ horse on just his third run over hurdles, conceding weight to the two horses who finished in front of him. Winner of his final race on the flat when he was with Richard Hannon, after which he was awarded a flat rating of 76, he shaped nicely on his debut over hurdles before winning his maiden hurdle at Naas at the end of January. This was a nice step forward from that, and he should be able to continue his progression now.

his is a race that has been a good pointer to the Fred Winter Hurdle in the recent past, with Band Of Outlaws, Aramax and Brazil all winning this race before following up at Cheltenham, and Byker could be a big player in that race if that is where he goes now. The Irish handicapper gave him a mark of 124 after this, which should see him get into the Fred Winter on a nice mark, even allowing for the fact that his British rating will undoubtedly be a little higher.
Naas, 11th February 2023