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Aintree

  • 14:50 John Smith's Aintree Hurdle 2m 4f

  • (grade 1) £170,000 added 4yo+ 16 ran
  • Winner: £
  • Going: Good to Soft, Good in places
  • Surface: Turf
    Weighed In
  • Winning time: 5m 0.30s
  • Off time: 14:53:22

Whit Too Sharp In Aintree Hurdle

Last Updated: 04/04/09 3:49pm

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Solwhit (left) masters Fiveforthree.

Solwhit (left) masters Fiveforthree.

Solwhit edged out Fiveforthree in a thrilling finish to the John Smith's Aintree Hurdle in the hands of Davy Russell.

Fiveforthree looked the likely winner after he cruised to the front approaching the final flight and jumped the obstacle fluently.

However, Solwhit (6-1) began to reel him in inside the final 100 yards and got on top close home to take the Grade One prize by half a length.

Favourite Al Eile travelled very strongly in search of his fourth success in the race but weakened out of it in the straight to finish a well-held fourth.

Boylesports cut the winner to 12/1 for next year's Smurfit Kappa Champion Hurdle while Sky Bet introduced him at 14/1.

Champion Hurdle runner-up Celestial Halo ran as though he had left his race behind at Cheltenham, failing to land any sort of blow when push came to shove.

Lucy Wadham's mare United ran a mighty race to fill the places, but others to disappoint included Jered and Catch Me.

Russell said: "At home on heavy ground (in Ireland) he handles it but he never really grabs hold of the bit.

"When I spoke to Charles beforehand I said if he's travelling well I'll have to bring him back a bit.

"I jumped off well, was sat on the bit and winged every hurdle bar the last down the back.

"He travelled into the straight, picked up and kept on after the last.

"We were hopeful more than confident."

Byrnes said: "He's a great horse. We didn't want to put him in at two miles at Cheltenham at this stage of his career as he is only five and this was the obvious place.

"Two miles or two and a half is no bother for him. We'll probably go to Punchestown but I think he could be competitive on the Flat as well."

Willie Mullins said of Fiveforthree: "It was a fantastic race from two out, our fella lost a hind shoe but that is no excuse, the winner is a fair horse.

"I was very happy with him and we'll go to Punchestown for the stayers' hurdle now and all being well he will have a novice chasing campaign next season."

Wadham said of United: "We're thrilled to bits. That was a fantastic run, she jumped fantastic and travelled well.

"She was in front turning in until the second-last, but there were just two too good for her. She was amazing and just loves her racing.

"We could have done with it a bit softer. I think she has come on from Cheltenham and has come in her coat.

"I don't know if there's anything for her at Punchestown, we think two and a half miles is her trip. That will probably be it for the season."

Al Eile's trainer John Queally said: "He ran a good race and I wouldn't be making any excuses.

"Timmy (Murphy) said the pace was ordinary, but he's run well.

"He'll have a holiday now and will go for a race on the Flat like the Cesarewitch and hopefully he'll be back here next year."

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