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JOCKEY Davy Russell's Naas four-timer on Saturday helped warm the cockles of those punters seeking solace from the winter wipeout.

With the big cards at Ascot and Haydock having succumbed to the elements, not to mention a completely blank day yesterday, all eyes turned to Naas.

And it was Russell who was the hero of the hour with four winners, which included keynote victories for Solwhit and Tofino Bay.

The former showed his rivals a clean pair of heels as he ran out a comfortable winner of the Grade Three Limestone Lad Hurdle, his first win since returning from a near two-year spell on the sidelines.

The nine-year-old is a six-time Grade One winner but only returned to action last month when finishing second at Punchestown.

That outing seemed to have done him the world of good as Solwhit (4/5 favourite) cruised home by four lengths.

Solwhit is a 10/1 chance for the World Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival, but trainer Charles Byrnes is not certain Prestbury Park will be their ultimate destination.

He said: "I'm delighted to get him back. I have no real plans now - he'll be entered in the World Hurdle. We might consider France as we'd be guaranteed soft ground there. The ground has never been a worry with him. When he won at Aintree it was on the good side.

"I don't think there's anything for him between now and March."

Russell then steered Tofino Bay (2/1) to a hard-fought success over odds-on favourite Aupcharlie in the Grade Two Woodlands Park 100 Club Novice Chase.

Trainer Dessie Hughes said: "The PJ Moriarty (at Leopardstown) is where he'll go now.

"That's two-miles-five and he needs it to keep raining as that trip would be short enough."


Tofino Bay sported the Gigginstown House Stud colours, as did Un Atout, who ran out an impressive winner of the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Irish Racing Writers Novice Hurdle.

Trainer Willie Mullins said: "He's in the Deloitte (February 9). He'll hardly run before that and I don't know if I want him to run in that either. I have no wish to step him up in trip just yet."

Russell had started his afternoon with success aboard Morning Assembly (10/11 favourite) in the opening INH Stallion Owners EBF Maiden Hurdle, while Mullins completed a double with Tennis Cap (3/1 favourite) in the BESS Ball 16th of February Handicap Hurdle.