Solwhit ‘coming on lovely’, says Byrnes

Charles Byrnes has the Leopardstown Christmas Festival as the first major target of the season for his World Hurdle hero Solwhit.

Solwhit ‘coming on lovely’, says Byrnes

After a near two-year injury lay-off, the nine-year-old returned seemingly better than ever last season, finishing second behind Bog Warrior at Punchestown before winning at Naas, Cheltenham and Aintree.

He signed off for the campaign by finishing second in the French Champion Hurdle at Auteuil in early June, and Byrnes will not rush his stable star back to competitive action, with Leopardstown’s Woodies DIY Hurdle in late December his first significant objective.

“He’s good. He’s been back in about six weeks now and is coming on lovely,” said Byrnes.

“The race we’re targeting is the three-mile race at Leopardstown over Christmas, which is a Grade One this year.

“Whether he’ll have a run before that, I honestly don’t know at this stage. We’ll just see how he comes along.”

The Balingarry handler also had news of Our Vinnie, a promising novice hurdler last season who has not been seen since being brought down in the Albert Bartlett at the Cheltenham Festival.

“He’ll go chasing and I’d say he’ll be about in about a month or so, hopefully,” said Byrnes.

Meanwhile, Nicky Henderson is considering the possibility of starting Long Run’s campaign in the Bet365 Charlie Hall Chase at Wetherby on November 2.

It had been expected the dual King George winner would begin his campaign in the Betfair Chase at Haydock on November 23, a race that is also on the radar for his stablemate and last season’s Gold Cup hero Bobs Worth.

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