Sport Cheltenham

Saturday 16 December 2017

Byrnes eyes fences for Solwhit after ruling out World Hurdle

Thomas Kelly

Solwhit has been ruled out of the Ladbrokes World Hurdle on Thursday week.

Charles Byrnes' six-times Grade One winner will not compete at this year's Cheltenham Festival after failing to impress connections in a workout yesterday morning.

Solwhit had been set to step up to three miles for the first time, but is likely to be roughed off for the season with a chasing career in mind next term.

Byrnes said: "He just wasn't firing on all cylinders so there is no point in going. It's disappointing, but it was something of an afterthought anyway. We gave him two pieces of work and they weren't satisfactory.

"It would have been interesting to see how he got on over the trip. It's doubtful he'll run again this season and I think we'll go chasing next season."

However, one horse earmarked for the Festival is First Lieutenant, which will run in the Neptune Investment Management Novices' Hurdle, according to trainer Mouse Morris. The six-year-old had too much pace for Zaidpour in the Future Champions Novices' Hurdle at Leopardstown over Christmas, but has not run since.

He also holds entries in the Supreme over two miles and the Albert Bartlett over three, but Morris has plumped for the intermediate distance of two miles and five furlongs.

Elsewhere, Punchestown received a timely boost when it was announced that BetChronicle is to sponsor the Champion Bumper at this season's Festival meeting.

With a pot of €75,000 on offer, the betChronicle Champion Bumper remains the most valuable bumper on the British and Irish racing calendar and the only Irish bumper to carry Grade One status.

The race boasts an illustrious roll of honour with Hidden Universe, Dunguib, Cousin Vinny and Like A Butterfly among previous horses which have visited the winner's enclosure.

Irish Independent

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