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Solwhit in World equation

Charles Byrnes has given Solwhit an entry in the Ladbrokes World Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival on March 17, as well as the Champion Hurdle.

However, the multiple Grade One winner is likely to swerve Cheltenham and head to Liverpool for the Aintree Hurdle, which he won in April 2009.

Byrnes said: "It's probably more Aintree than Cheltenham at this stage. Naturally we have entered him in Cheltenham. It would be unfair to the horse not to make an entry for him there after all he's won for us."

Willie Mullins numbers Mourad, Mikael D'Haguenet, Fiveforthree and Quevega among his World Hurdle contenders, while Luska Lad has been entered by John Hanlon.

Big Buck's is the standout name among the 46 entries. Paul Nicholls' champion is unbeaten since reverting to hurdles and has barely come off the bridle this season. He could be joined by stablemates Celestial Halo and the improving Organisateur.

An interesting entry from the Nicky Henderson yard is Punchestowns, currently campaigning over fences but a former runner-up in the race. Henderson has sprung another surprise by entering Oscar Whisky, an impressive winner over two and a half miles who was thought to be on the Champion Hurdle trail.

Zaynar and Spirit River are other Seven Barrows possibles. Alan King could run Bensalem, Walkon and Karabak, while Nigel Twiston-Davies has given Khyber Kim the option and David Pipe's exciting Grand Crus is a possible.

Robin Dickin is planning on running Restless Harry and said: "Restless Harry runs in the Cleeve Hurdle at Cheltenham on Saturday week and I am hopeful that he can run a big race. He is tremendously well in himself and we always said that we would remain over hurdles this season because of his limited mileage.

"There are probably four or five horses that are quite evenly matched behind Big Buck's but you should never be scared of taking on one horse - who would have thought Kauto Star would have got beaten on Saturday?

"It's not his fault that he is competing in the top staying hurdles but when you run in those kind of races, then you are bound to take on champions like Big Buck's."


From Belfast Telegraph