Solwhit returns after long absence

Mon 31st Dec 2012, 08:43
Solwhit winning the 2010 Toshiba Irish Champion Hurdle at Leopardstown
Solwhit winning the 2010 Toshiba Irish Champion Hurdle at Leopardstown
(Healy Racing Photos)
Charles Byrnes will be as delighted as anyone that today's meeting at Punchestown goes ahead as it sees the eagerly-awaited return of his star hurdler Solwhit.

Byrnes reports the six-times Grade 1 winner to be ready to return to action in the Follow Punchestown On Facebook Hurdle at the Co. 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 Co. 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 the two and a half mile conditions hurdle.

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

Tony Martin is represented by Grade 1-winning chaser Bog Warrior, while Edward O'Grady's Staying Article and the Michael Cullen-trained Belle Brook complete the septet.

Fairyhouse fit for racing

Following the news that today's meetings at Punchestown and Tramore will go ahead, there was further New Year cheer as Fairyhouse was also passed fit for racing.