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Byrnes hails 'Special' one

Charles Byrnes' multiple Grade One winner and Cheltenham Festival hero Solwhit has died after breaking his shoulder in a schooling fall at Tipperary.

The 10-year-old struck at the highest level on eight occasions during a stellar career, most recently claiming the Ladbrokes World Hurdle at last year's Cheltenham Festival and the Liverpool Hurdle at Aintree a month later.

Solwhit missed the entirety of last season, the second lengthy absence of his career, but was due to return to action later this year before tragedy struck earlier today, resulting in him having to be put down.

Byrnes (left) said: "It happened around midday. He was schooling over hurdles in Tipperary and unfortunately he tipped over and broke his shoulder.

"It's very sad and we'd been delighted with him during the week.

"He's the best horse I've trained by a very long way.

"He won eight Grade Ones and we had a great day with him in Cheltenham. He's been a very special horse for all of us."

Solwhit won 15 of his 28 starts and was placed on a further nine occasions, amassing over £950,000 in win and place prize-money.

As well as his eight Grade One wins, he also chased home the brilliant Hurricane Fly in a number of memorable clashes.

Trainer Tony Martin and owner JP McManus are set to break new ground in France today as Clonard Street goes for Group One glory in the Criterium de Saint-Cloud.

The Archipenko colt earned his place in the field by chasing home Ol' Man River in the Beresford Stakes at the Curragh in late September, having previously won well on his debut at Galway.

Martin said: "I don't think I've had a runner in a Group One race on the Flat before. I try and run them where I think they're capable of running - whether that's a point-to-point or a selling hurdle, or whatever. I think this horse is entitled to be there, so we'll keep our fingers crossed."

He continued: "He's been over there a couple of days and the boys that are with him are happy that he's travelled well and everything looks good. I think he deserves to take his chance. He ran a good race in the Curragh the last day and we're hoping he'll go on the (softer) ground.

"The ground will be the same for us all and they're all only two-year-olds. We're just hoping he'll get through and we'll see what we can do."

Frank Berry, McManus' racing manager, said: "I don't think JP has had a Group One runner before. It's nice to have a horse good enough to run in one. We have a few nice Flat horses this year, a few two-year-olds that have run well, so it's great.

"This horse has done nothing wrong and we think he'll go on the ground."

Clonard Street is joined on the trip across the Channel by Richard Hannon's Crafty Choice.


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