Solwhit (Davy Russell) clear the last hurdle from So Young and Whatuthink
©Healy Racing Photos
Solwhit showed he is no back number with an impressive victory in the Limestone Lad Hurdle at Naas and trainer Charles Byrnes can start dreaming of bidding for the major prizes again.
The six-time Grade One winner returned from a near two-year lay-off to finish second to Bog Warrior at Punchestown last month and was sent off the 4-5 favourite to build on that promise.
Davy Russell was going best in second as they came down the straight and having passed long-time leader Whatuthink,p>Solwhit came clear by four lengths after market rival So Young made a mess of the final flight.
Champion jockey Russell won on all his four rides, including Tofino Bay, who finished well behind Aupcharlie at Leopardstown last month but overturned the form in the feature Grade Two contest, the Woodlands Park 100 Club Novice Chase.
Dessie Hughes's mud-loving 10-year-old (2-1) led all the way and although odds-on favourite Aupcharlie looked to have him well covered in the straight, they were together at the last and Tofino Bay stayed on best to score by half a length.
Pat Fahy's 10-11 favourite Morning Assembly home by three-quarters of a length in the INH Stallion Owners EBF Maiden Hurdle, completed his four-timer when Un Atout demolished the opposition in the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Irish Racing Writers Novice Hurdle.
Russell, who got
Willie Mullins' five-year-old (2-7 favourite) oozed class as he led after the third-last and sauntered clear to beat the front-running Rory O'Moore by 19 lengths, with the jockey sitting motionless throughout.
Mullins quickly followed up when the Ruby Walsh-ridden Tennis Cap (3-1 favourite) led all the way in the BESS Ball 16th Of February Handicap Hurdle, putting the race to bed between the final two flights to beat Beneficial Spirit by five and a half lengths.
Three horses were clear entering the straight in the Cheltenham Trial Day 24th February Handicap Chase but they were picked off by Liz Doyle's Reality Dose (13-2), who charged home by 12 lengths under Declan Bates.