Byrnes Reports Solwhit Ready For Return

Sun 30th Dec 2012, 13:13

©Healy Racing Photos
Charles Byrnes has his fingers crossed Punchestown passes a morning inspection so that Solwhit can make his eagerly-awaited comeback on Monday.

Byrnes reports his six times Grade One winner to be ready to return to action in the Follow Punchestown On Facebook Hurdle at the County Kildare track.

Solwhit has not raced since finishing second to his old adversary Hurricane Fly in the Irish Champion Hurdle at Leopardstown in January 2011, but he has been back in training since July.

"We haven't seen him on the track for nearly two years. He's as fit as I can get him at home. He will come on for the run, but he's ready to start back," said County Limerick-based Byrnes.

"Hopefully it will go ahead as I'd like to get him started. He's been back in since July but we've taken it slowly.

"Touch wood all looks good with him but because of the ground conditions with the weather he hasn't been away from home because there has been no grass gallops open the last couple of months."

A quality field of seven has been declared for tomorrow's two and a half mile heat.

Champion trainer Willie Mullins relies on Simenon while Noel Meade has both Donnas Palm and Fully Funded.

Tony Martin is represented by Grade One-winning chaser Bog Warrior while Edward O'Grady's Staying Article and the Michael Cullen-trained Belle Brook complete the septet.

GRAND NATIONAL - The Northern Challenge

The Sue Smith-trained Auroras Encore was the last northern-trained horse to win the Grand National back in 2013 but recent victories for that part of the country have been thin on the ground since the likes of Lucius, Rubstic and Hallo Dandy in the late 70s early 80’s showed that steeplechasing was in a healthy state north of the Watford Gap with the likes of Gordon W Richards, Denys Smith, Arthur Stephenson, Peter Easterby and Jimmy Fitzgerald capable of holding their own against their southern and Irish counterparts.