March 14 (Bloomberg) -- Solwhit, ridden by Paul Carberry, made the most of the absence of four-time winner Big Buck’s to take the World Hurdle at horse racing’s Cheltenham Festival.
Solwhit, trained by Charles Byrnes, overtook Bog Warrior, who had led for most of the race, after the last of 12 hurdles and finished 2 1/2 lengths clear of 40-1 shot Celestial Halo. Smad Place (9-1) was third in the 13-horse field.
Solwhit, a nine-year-old that went off the fourth favorite at 17-2, is the first Irish-trained winner of the World Hurdle since 1995 and the ninth winner from Ireland at Cheltenham this week.
“Attack at the last,” Carberry told broadcaster Channel Four. “I tried to time it as well as I could.”
Big Buck’s had won the past four editions of the three-mile World Hurdle but didn’t run today because of an injury.
Oscar Whisky, the 5-2 favorite trained by Nicky Henderson, pulled up during the race and didn’t finish.
In today’s other results, Cue Card (7-2), ridden by Joe Tizzard and trained by his brother Colin Tizzard, took the Chase; Benefficient (20-1) won the Novices’ Chase with Bryan Cooper aboard; and 25-1 shot Holywell captured the Handicap Hurdle under Richie McLernon.
The annual Cheltenham Festival, comprising 27 races, is the most prestigious in the U.K. jumps-racing calendar. The event, which attracts close to 600 million pounds ($901 million) in wagers, ends tomorrow with the Gold Cup race.
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