- Horse Racing
Sizzling Solwhit romps home
Solwhit followed up his World Hurdle success with a facile victory in the Liverpool Hurdle.
Charles Byrnes' charge took advantage of the absence of Big Buck's to take the Festival crown for staying hurdlers and he proved it was no fluke with a hugely imposing success.
This was as quick a ground as he would probably want, but it did not hinder him as he proved in a different league to his rivals.
Paul Carberry rode Solwhit with huge confidence and it was as if he had been parachuted into the race when arriving on the scene hard on the bridle at the second last.
Carberry took a disdainful look at his toiling rivals heading down to the final flight and Solwhit powered away from Holywell on the run for home.
"He was very good today," Carberry said. "He travelled well all the way and jumped brilliant - if anything, he was even better than at Cheltenham. He does just idle a bit in front but I was never in any doubt."
Byrnes said: "The plan was not to come here and keep him for Punchestown but he came out so well of Cheltenham it was an easy enough decision to make."
There was a shock in the opening race on Grand National day, as Ubak floored a trio of highly-rated rivals in the John Smith's Mersey Novices' Hurdle.
Sent off an unfancied 22/1 shot, Gary Moore's horse travelled supremely well and skipped right away from Utopie Des Bordes. Up and Go was sent off favourite but was beaten turning in, while Dodging Bullets ran a shocking race and was beaten before the second circuit had begun.
"I'll be quite honest - I only declared because there were eight in it, I wanted to go to Fontwell on Thursday," Moore, father of the winning jockey Jamie, said. "But the owner has been very good to me and let me buy the horse and he wanted to come here."
The shocks continued in the second race, as unconsidered 28/1 shot Special Tiara came home fast and late to run down Overturn in the John Smith's Maghull Novices' Chase.
Special Tiara and Overturn duelled at a frenetic pace from the off, but they were the only two in the hunt at the second last fence. It looked like Overturn had done enough, but his stride began to shorten and Special Tiara answered Bryan Cooper's every call to score in gritty fashion.