- Cheltenham Festival, Day Three
Solwhit stays best for World Hurdle success
Charles Byrnes' Solwhit took the step up to three miles in his stride as he ran out a ready winner of the World Hurdle.
With Big Buck's not in the race, the path was clear for a new staying champion and it was Solwhit who came out on top. His form down the years over shorter with Hurricane Fly was there for all to see, but the nagging doubt was whether he would stay.
He had the right man in the plate in Paul Carberry for the softly-softly approach and it went to script as he eased into contention behind long-time leader Bog Warrior thee from home.
Solwhit and Celestial Halo were travelling best heading to the last, as Bog Warrior faded, and both had stamina doubts. Neither faltered, but it was Solwhit who came up the hill the better to score - with Smad Place back in third.
Oscar Whisky was sent off a well-backed 5/2 favourite, but he was never travelling for Barry Geraghty and was well beaten.
A delighted Byrnes said: That's seven grade ones he has won now but it would have been more but for Hurricane Fly!
"I wanted Davy [Russell] to ride, but when I couldn't get Davy I was happy to get Paul - he was the ideal jockey.
"We knew he was coming back. We knew in the last couple of weeks, we could just feel that he was on the way back."
Carrickboy produced a gritty front-running effort to land the Byrne Group Plate, with Venetia Williams' charge delivering a blow to punters by scoring at 50/1. And in the following race, the Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Challenge Cup Handicap Chase - Donald McCain's well-backed favourite Super Duty was chinned on the line by Same Difference.