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Staying star Solwhit pleases trainer Charles Byrnes

Updated: Friday, 11 Oct 2013 15:05 | Comments

Solwhit returned last season after a near two-year injury lay-off
Solwhit returned last season after a near two-year injury lay-off

Charles Byrnes has the Leopardstown Christmas Festival as the first major target of the season for his World Hurdle hero Solwhit.

After a near two-year injury lay-off, the nine-year-old returned seemingly better than ever last season, finishing second behind Bog Warrior at Punchestown before winning at Naas, Cheltenham and Aintree.

He signed off for the campaign by finishing second in the French Champion Hurdle at Auteuil in early June, and Byrnes will not rush his stable star back to competitive action, with Leopardstown's Woodies DIY Hurdle in late December his first significant objective.

"He's good. He's been back in about six weeks now and is coming on lovely," said Byrnes.

"The race we're targeting is the three-mile race at Leopardstown over Christmas, which is a Grade One this year.

"Whether he'll have a run before that, I honestly don't know at this stage. We'll just see how he comes along."

The Balingarry handler also had news of Our Vinnie, a promising novice hurdler last season who has not been seen since being brought down in the Albert Bartlett at the Cheltenham Festival.

"He'll go chasing and I'd say he'll be about in about a month or so, hopefully," said Byrnes.

"He was unlucky being brought down at Cheltenham, but he seems good."

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