TRAINER Phil Kirby is looking forward to seeing his two stable stars Top Ville Ben and Lady Buttons kick off their respective campaigns on bet365 Charlie Hall Chase day at Wetherby.
Top Ville Ben is already a dual winner over fences at the West Yorkshire circuit and is being aimed at the Charlie Hall Chase itself, having rounded off his novice campaign with an excellent effort to finish third behind Lostintranslation and Topofthegame in a Grade One novice chase at Aintree under Sean Quinlan.
The admirable Lady Buttons has won 12 races for Kirby and is set to bid for a fourth victory at Wetherby in the OLBG.com Mares’ Hurdle – a race she won last season under Adam Nicol and finished second in behind La Bague Au Roi in 2017.
Lady Buttons, owned and bred by Jayne and Keith Sivills, won four races last season, and became one of the most popular horses in training, before finishing fourth at the Cheltenham Festival – and then second at Aintree.
“They’re both doing plenty of cantering. They haven’t done any fast work yet, but they wouldn’t be a million miles off. They look really well and they’ll both be aimed at the Charlie Hall meeting,” said the Catterick trainer,
“Top Ville Ben will run in the Charlie Hall and Lady Buttons will run in the Listed race she won last year. Everything has gone perfectly to plan so far, we’ve just got to keep it that way.
“Buttons will do a very similar thing to last year – she’ll start off at Wetherby, then possibly go to Newbury and then go to Doncaster for those Listed races and the big prize-money. We’ll see where we finish up at the end of the season.
“For Top Ville, the plan was always to go to the Charlie Hall to start with. We’ll see how he gets on, but if he’s competitive, he could always go to Newbury for the Hennessy (Ladbrokes Trophy).”
Meanwhile Brian Ellison’s Definitly Red – winner of last year’s Charlie Hall under Danny Cook – will be among the equine stars on show at this year’s Malton Open Day on September 15.
Sponsored by Arena Racing Company (ARC) and organised by Racing Welfare, 13 yards in and around the town – including the Ellison stable – will welcome visitors on the day to meet their favourite horses as well as the teams of staff who keep the cogs turning on a daily basis.
As well as Ellison, the stables of Julie Camacho, Michael Herrington, Mark Campion, Richard Fahey, Ollie Pears, Mick Easterby, Roger Fell, John Quinn, Tim Easterby, Suzzanne France, Nigel Tinkler and Lucy Egerton will be open. Visitors will also have the chance to look around Jack Berry House, the Injured Jockeys Fund rehab centre, while a full programme of family entertainment will follow at Highfield Gallops in the afternoon.
Dual Randox Health Grand National winner Tiger Roll will attempt to win the Aintree marathon for a record third successive time next year, trainer Gordon Elliott has announced. He said the horse will run twice – a hurdles race in Ireland and then the Cross Country Chase at Cheltenham – before another National tilt.