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Dublin: 7°C Saturday 26 September 2020

Irish raid continues as Solwhit storms to World Hurdle win

Davy Russell missed his rides on First Lieutenant and Bog Warrior after he was taken to hospital with a collapsed lung earlier today.

Paul Carberry celebrates on board Solwhit.
Paul Carberry celebrates on board Solwhit.
Image: ©INPHO/Dan Sheridan

IRELAND’S BRILLIANT CHELTENHAM raid continued today as Solwhit stunned the field to win the feature Ladbrokes World Hurdle.

With four-time champion Big Buck’s missing due to injury, Charles Byrnes’ challenger stormed home to win the top prize of more than £150,000.

It was only Solwhit’s third run since coming back from a two-year lay-off but in the hands of Paul Carberry, he raced clear to win at odds of 17/2.

40/1 outsider Celestial Halo, bidding to give trainer Paul Nicholls his first winner of this year’s festival was second, while Alan King’s Smad Place was three lengths further back in third.

Carberry was a doubt for the ride following a bad fall yesterday but bounced back to deliver Ireland’s ninth winner of the meeting.

“It was touch and go whether I rode this morning,” said Carberry, who provoked the thousands of Irish racegoers into wild cheers when he whirled the Irish tricolor over his head as he entered the winners enclosure.

Earlier Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary was denied the chance to recoup the money that went into sponsoring the Ryanair Chase as his hot 2/1 favourite First Lieutenant had to make do with second behind Cue Card, ridden by Joe Tizzard and trained by his father Colin.

First Lieutenant, who had been originally entered for tomorrow’s Gold Cup, had a change of jockey prior to the race as his regular rider Davy Russell had to be taken to hospital with a collapsed lung.

Although unsuccessful in the Ryanair, Russell’s replacement Bryan Cooper tasted success earlier on the card when he steered home 20/1 Irish outsider Benefficient – trained by Tony Martin – in the Novices Chase.

“I have been dreaming of this for so long, it is a shock,” 20-year-old Cooper said after his first festival winner. “It gives me shivers up my spine.”

There was another long-priced winner in the Pertemps Final Hurdle as 25/1 shot Holywell, ridden by Cork’s Richie McClernon, won for trainer Jonjo O’Neill.

Cheltenham — Thursday’s Results

  • 1.30: Benefficient (20/1); Dynaste (11/8 Fav); Changing Times (100/1)
  • 2.05: Holywell (25/1); Captain Sunshine (11/1); Jetson (10/1); Shutthefrontdoorr (6/1)
  • 2.40: Cue Card (7/2); First Lieutenant (2/1 Fav); For Non Stop (12/1)
  • 3.20: Solwhit (17/2); Celestial Halo (40/1); Smad Place (9/1)
  • 4.00: Carrickboy (50/1); Vino Griego (11/1); Tartak (20/1); Hunt Ball (8/1)
  • 4.40: Same Difference (16/1); Super Duty (11/2 Fav); Romanesco (8/1); Alfie Sherrin (9/1)
  • 5.15:

- © AFP, 2013, additional reporting Niall Kelly

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Caption time: What was Michael O’Leary saying to himself at Cheltenham earlier?

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