Welsh champion Bradley Gibbs has moved from South Wales with fiancée Claire Sheriff to start a new venture in Hertfordshire.
The couple are creating a 30-box yard at a 360-acre farm owned by Sheriff’s father Julian in the village of Lemsford, near Welwyn Garden City. Central London is little more than a 30-minute train ride away.
Gibbs, 26 (pictured above), said: “We are very grateful to Claire’s father for giving us this opportunity. We’ve got four boxes at present and we’re building a barn with another 25 boxes – the base is down and the barn will be up soon.
“We’ve put in a woodchip gallop, schooling fences are next on the agenda and we will be planning a circular sand gallop.
“Long term I would like to apply for a trainer’s licence, but for now we will be concentrating on point-to-pointing. I still love riding and can’t wait for the new season to start, although we won’t have any horses ready to run until late November or December. I’ll be going back to Wales to ride as often as I can, but we will be looking at meetings in this part of England, too.
“When this plan became clear I rang around the owners and they were happy for us to bring some of the horses from Wales, but we’re hoping to attract some new owners in this area.”
Gibbs and his father David created a formidable son-and-father combination as rider and trainer, and David will continue to train a reduced string from his home near Bridgend. He said: “I’ve got two horses in and will probably get another one or two. I’m delighted for Bradley and Claire – it’s an opportunity they could not refuse.”
Bradley first entered racing through riding out for Tim Vaughan at weekends and during school holidays, and after spending six years there joined Christian Williams for a couple of seasons and more recently has been working for David Brace. He said: “One thing’s for sure, I learned a lot from all of them.”
He rode his first winner at Ystradowen in April 2011 on Cinaman, trained by his father, and has accumulated a total of 165 pointing winners plus eight in hunters’ chases. They include two wins at Cheltenham’s evening hunters’ chase meeting on Will Vaughan’s Silver Story and the David Gibbs-trained Frelia. The last-named has won eight races, but Gibbs said: “Unfortunately Frelia is staying with Dad. She’s his little baby!”
Frelia in action (nearest camera) with Bradley Gibbs in the saddle