Solwhit will once again be aimed towards the Champion Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival after the Irish Champion Hurdle winner from last season won impressively on his seasonal debut. The Charles Byrnes horse went into the Champion Hurdle last March well backed to run a big race only to come up short back in 6th place, but connections are bullish about his chances this season with all roads pointing towards the Championship race once again. Solwhit was the class of the race at Punchestown when winning the Dobbins & Madigans at Punchestown Hurdle on the weekend; he beat a good field with something in hand to show his ability under a good ride from Davy Russell.
The bookmakers were quick to take note of the performance at Punchestown and Solwhit was slashed across the board for the 2011 Champion Hurdle. Solwhit will have to find something against the likes of Binocular and Hurricane Fly who both beat him at the back end of last season, but he could come in for plenty of each way money at a price of around 10/1 in the current ante-post betting. Solwhit was clearly not at his best at the Cheltenham Festival last season when off the pace in the Champion Hurdle, that run might be excused by punters as we progress through the season and there is no doubting he is a grade 1 class horse. Whether or not he is up to winning the Champion hurdle remains to be seen but he most certainly is one contender to keep an eye on through the winter.