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Byrnes chasing International honours

CHARLES BYRNES believes this weekend's StanJames.com International at Cheltenham is a realistic target for his intended runner Pittoni.

A Grade One-winning youngster at the start of 2010 but essentially disappointing during the rest of last year, Byrnes lowered Pittoni's sights and brought him along quietly in several Flat races this year.

The Limerick handler placed him to land a minor event at Naas in October before managing only third in last month's Morgiana Hurdle behind the improving Thousand Stars.

"The plan is for Pittoni to travel over for the StanJames.com International," said Byrnes. "I thought that he ran up to his handicap mark in the Morgiana Hurdle.

"He won a Grade One as a juvenile but it wasn't the greatest race in the world and he's probably up to being a Grade Two hurdler at the moment. He's a bit behind the likes of Thousand Stars.

"His form has mainly been on heavy or soft ground but I am sure that he will have no problem with good going and he heads to Cheltenham in good order."

David Pipe has revealed the Grade One staying hurdle at Ascot on Saturday week will be known as the Lough Derg Long Walk Hurdle.

Pipe recently retired the 11-year-old, who ran some of his best races at the track, including the 2007 renewal of the Long Walk.

Pipe said: "In reverence to Lough Derg's retirement and all the wonderful performances that he put up at the Berkshire track, Ascot have kindly decreed that the Long Walk Hurdle will be known this year as the "Lough Derg Long Walk Hurdle" -- a touching and fitting tribute to this amazing horse."

Pipe may be represented by impressive Haydock winner Dynaste, although he could run in the Relkeel Hurdle.

"I have made an entry for Fixed Brush Hurdle winner Dynaste in the Relkeel Hurdle at Cheltenham for Saturday," added Pipe.

"Following on from his great win at Haydock, he now has a rating of 158, so there really aren't many handicap options available to him.

"He could go there, although he has also been given an entry in the Long Walk Hurdle the following week, in which champion stayer Big Buck's could make his next appearance.

"We will know more about what we have after one of these races, and it will help to decide future targets for him."


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