03/14/2013 11:20AM

Cheltenham: Solwhit takes advantage of mistake to win World Hurdle


CHELTENHAM, England – A year ago, Solwhit was sidelined with a tendon injury. Thursday, he won the richest three-mile hurdle race of the year in England in the $410,000 World Hurdle at Cheltenham Racecourse.

A 9-year-old gelding bred in France, Solwhit, a 17-2 chance, took advantage of a mistake at the last hurdle by leader Celestial Halo to take command and win by 2 1/2 lengths under jockey Paul Carberry.

Celestial Halo, a 40-1 shot in the field of 13, held second, three lengths in front of 9-1 Smad Place.

Solwhit was timed in 5:57.50.

Owned by the Top of the Hill Syndicate, Solwhit raced in the middle of the field before making progress toward the leaders in the last half-mile.

Solwhit began his career in France in 2007. He won six Grade 1 hurdles in England and Ireland in 2009 and 2010 before being sidelined with injury in early 2011. He missed the 2011-12 season, but returned to racing in Ireland last December.

Trained by Charles Byrnes, Solwhit won the Grade 3 Limestone Lad Hurdle at Naas Racecourse in Ireland on Jan. 19, his final prep race.

Thursday’s win was the 14th for Solwhit in 26 career starts.