PHIL Kirby says Lady Buttons will stick to two miles after the mare’s fine fourth at the inaugural Dublin Racing Festival in Leopardstown.
One of the few British trainers who was prepared to take on Ireland’s top horses on their home turf, Adam Nicol’s mount was travelling best of all turning for home.
At that higher level, she’s just a proper two miler – she travelled like the winner turning in. If we keep trying, we will win one of these big handicaps with her before long.Phil Kirby
However, the eight-year-old, bred by her owners Jayne and Keith Sivills, was just found out by the two-and-a-quarter mile trip as Alletrix burst clear for the Cheltenham Gold Cup-winning combination of Jessica Harrington and Robbie Power.
Tiring in the final strides, Lady Buttons was then caught on the line by two faster finishing rivals and ultimately finished a slightly unlucky fourth.
“We probably need to drop back to two miles,” Catterick-based Kirby told The Yorkshire Post. “At that higher level, she’s just a proper two miler – she travelled like the winner turning in. If we keep trying, we will win one of these big handicaps with her before long.”
Kirby is keen to revert Lady Buttons to steeplechase fences for her next run to make the most of her novice status over the larger obstacles.
However, he was fulsome in his praise of the two-day meeting that was effectively Ireland’s big trials meeting for next month’s Cheltenham Festival. “I’ll definitely go back,” he added.
The aforementioned Harrington has reiterated her desire to run Supasundae in the Stayers’ Hurdle at Cheltenham next month. The eight-year-old put up a career-best performance to beat Faugheen in the Irish Champion Hurdle and now steps up to three miles for a Grade One race in which Sam Spinner, trained at Middleham by Jedd O’Keeffe, is favourite.
“He definitely goes for the Stayers. The ground will be drier in Cheltenham and it will suit him even better,” she said.
Bingley trainer Sue Smith’s fine form continued when Smooth Stepper took Newcastle’s feature chase under stable jockey Danny Cook before the pair teamed up to take the finale with the novice Absolutely Dylan.
There was further local success on the card when Brown Trix enjoyed chase success for Guiseley trainer Sam England, whose husband Jonathan was in the saddle. It follows their two runners at Musselburgh’s high-profile meeting at the weekend when outsiders Alzammaar and Ninepointsixthree were both second in their respective races.