Kirby: Lady Buttons is rapid ? only Stargazer can work with her
There may be a dilemma for North Yorkshire trainer Phil Kirby over which festival race to target with Lady Buttons, but the call over which horse she works with at home takes care of itself.
On Sunday Kirby described Lady Buttons as rapid with 100-rated Flat horse Stargazer the only stablemate that can lay up with the daughter of Beneficial, who landed a first Graded success in the olbg.com Yorkshire Rose Mares’ Hurdle at Doncaster on Saturday.
It was a momentous win for conditional jockey Tommy Dowson, who replaced regular rider Adam Nicol – on the sidelines with a broken femur – and steered the evens favourite to a neck success over Indefatigable.
Kirby said: "Lady Buttons is absolutely fine and there’s not a bother on her. At the time I didn’t realise quite how close it was getting near the winning post but I think she thought she’d done enough.
"She's been a star and is very straightforward, a nice character and a proper workhorse. She has so much speed – she's rapid – and Stargazer is the only one that can work with her."
Kirby, enjoying his best jumps campaign with 32 winners, said: "I've got no preference at the moment. The original plan was to go for the Champion Chase but she’s almost half the price for the Mares' Hurdle, so it has to come into the reckoning.
"She's relaxing a bit more in her races and I think she’d stay 2m4f up the hill, particularly on better ground.
"We know Altior would be seriously hard to beat, but there's no easy race at the festival and she deserves to take her chance in one of them."
Top Ville Ben has proved a revelation since joining Kirby and heads to Wetherby for the Grade 2 William Hill Towton Novices’ Chase on Saturday.
The Harbour Rose Partnership-owned seven-year-old has taken his form to a new level in his novice chase campaign, winning by an aggregate 59 lengths in two successful starts, and is a best price 50-1 with bet365 to land the RSA Chase, with Kirby heaping praise on work rider Jennie Durrans.
Kirby said: “He’s really well and looks amazing; he’s very exciting. He’s got an entry in the RSA and rated only 3lb lower than the favourite Santini, so should be competitive.
"He was very keen when he came to us and wanted to go flat out everywhere but Jennie has done a proper job on him.
"She's a good rider and has been brilliant with him. He's training properly now whereas before it was a case of just surviving."
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