Pittoni now primed for Triumph tilt

Niall Cronin

Charles Byrnes proved his team were fighting fit ahead of what is set to be a big weekend for the trainer as Pittoni put himself in contention for the Triumph Hurdle with a second win at Punchestown yesterday.

Carrying the colours of Patrick Wilmott, the four-year-old was a course and distance winner in the snow on New Year's Eve and justified plenty of support in winning the Grade 3 Visit Punchestown.com Juvenile Hurdle in the hands of Paul Carberry.

It will now be a step up to Grade 1 level for the former John Oxx-trained son of Peintre Celebre who is now unbeaten in two starts over hurdles.

"He did it okay," said the winning trainer afterwards.


"He is in the Grade 1 at Leopardstown in February and we'll know what level he is at after that. I told Paul not to let it turn into a sprint and that's why he went on from so far out.

"I didn't expect him to sit last early but there will never again be a Paul Carberry!"

Pittoni is now 25/1 with Ladbrokes for the Triumph Hurdle and 5/2 from 6/1 for the Grade 1 Spring Juvenile Hurdle.

Pittoni was in the fourth race of the afternoon and the first not to be ridden by a Walsh after Ruby had enjoyed a first and third race double but had to settle for second when his sister Katie outdid him to land the second on Battlefront trained by her father.

Battlefront carried the colours of Walsh's mother Helen and while Clear Gold was probably an unfortunate loser to deny Ruby and Willie Mullins a treble having made a big mistake at the third last, an enterprising ride from Katie Walsh saw Battlefront claim a second win over fences.

Ruby landed the opener aboard Citizen Vic and later followed that up on Mourad, also for Willie Mullins, under a patient ride which saw him pick up the long-time leader and market rival Rubi Light and score by 10 lengths.