Solwhit likely to tackle Quevega at Punchestown

Charles Byrnes indicated at Limerick yesterday that Solwhit, so impressive at Aintree on Saturday, is likely to tackle Quevega in a three-mile Grade 1 hurdle at Punchestown later this month.

Solwhit likely to tackle Quevega at Punchestown

He was speaking after his Shanpallas had stepped up on three previous efforts to land the Family Fun Day Maiden Hurdle.

"We will see how he (Solwhit) is in a week, but the plan is to go to Punchestown”, revealed Byrnes.

Meanwhile, Shanpallas quickened in style from the final flight to sweep past the flattering Overcall and score by a length.

"That was a poor race and the owner had a few quid on him each-way”, said Byrnes, who was soon summoned before the stewards to explain the apparent improvement in form of his gelding.

Byrnes' explanation, that his charge seemed to benefit from the faster ground, in what he felt was a moderate contest, was noted.

There were plenty of non-runners through the day, mainly because of the fast ground, with Willie Mullins withdrawing all of his four possibilities.

Ben Dalton, fresh from winning the Irish Grand National at Fairyhouse on Liberty Counsel, continued his rich vein of form when guiding Peter McCreery's Leah Claire to victory in the Provimi Rated Hurdle.

Absolutlyfantastic tried to make all, but Dalton produced the mare with impeccable timing to sweep past after the last.

Said McCreery: "She did what was to be expected and the handicapper can't touch her after that!

"There was no pace, which didn't suit, but she is as tough as nails. She will probably go for a good two and a half mile handicap at Punchestown now.”'

Another in cracking form, Bryan Cooper, landed the Student Raceday 11th April Novice Hurdle on Jim Culloty's Legal Exit.

The winner made every yard of the running, having little trouble shaking off the weak challenge of favourite, Bonisland, from two out.

Said Culloty: "He's a right horse, who is crying out for fences. We will throw him in a field now and he will come back over fences in the autumn.”'

The Featured Grade 2 Hugh McMahon Memorial Novice Chase cut up badly, with only three going to post. Both Tofino Bay and Vesper Bell were taken out due to the fast surface and then Noras Fancy fell at the third.

Victory went to Tom Taaffe's Argocat, completing a double for Cooper, who strolled past the front-running Shabra Charity between the last two fences.

"Things didn't go right for him at Cheltenham and he was always going to come here”, reported Taaffe. "He is now likely to go for a Grade 1 over three miles at Punchestown.”

Brian Hamilton's long journey south, from Down, paid dividends when Bobbina landed the Karora Best Dressed Student 11th April Mares' Hurdle.

Partnered by Declan Lavery, she eased past Dazzling Susie in the straight to score with lots in hand by five lengths.

Said Hamilton: "We were concerned about the ground, but she handled it as you have just seen. She will be covered and race through the summer.”

Barry Connell bought Private Treasure, after he finished second on his debut at Leopardstown, and had an immediate return on his investment when the Montjeu gelding took the Bumper.

Ridden by Josh Halley, he forged to the front before the home turn and kept finding to hold promising newcomer, Western Boy, by half a length.

"He jumps well and will have a summer campaign over hurdles”, said trainer, Paul Nolan. Private Treasure is a full brother to former Irish Derby winner, Frozen Fire.

The modest Martinstown Opportunity Handicap Chase again highlighted the ability of Mark Enright, as he drove Caheronaun to a game two lengths success over Supreme Doc.

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