Outpaced in the Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle, she ran on under Tommy Dowson to finish behind the Willie Mullins pair Concertista and Dolcita. Catterick-based Kirby says he was surprised that the five-year-old was off the bridle in the early stages, but praised Dowson’s perseverance,
Now placed in her three hurdles to date, Kirby said: “We thought she’d win first time and then we thought she’d go close second time, but she just bumped into a couple of really good ones. She’s a lovely filly and we just want to keep her a novice for next season, which is why we came here.
“We rode her to run well and she was probably flat out all the way, but she’ll be a lovely mare to go chasing with one day.”
The horse’s performance for owners John Hanson and Rayna Fitzgerald came after stable star Lady Buttons finished seventh in Tuesday’s ulta competitive Mares’ Hurdle to Honeysuckle before Louis Vac Pouch was seventh in Thursday’s handicap chase.
Further evidence of Cheltenham’s competitveness, Kirby told The Yorkshire Post: “We always want winners but the horses have run alright. We’ve just got to keep trying.
“If you’re not going to have runners there, you’re not going to have winners.”
As for Lady Buttons, the horse has a new fan – financier and leading owner Rich Ricci whose horses are in training with the aforementioned Mullins in Ireland.
“Lovely to meet Rich Ricci, what a nice genuine man he is, and he was full of praise and lovely comments about LB, telling me how wonderful it must be for us to own a horse like her,” posted Lady Buttons owner Jayne Sivills on Facebook,
She confirmed that ‘Buttons’ was not suited by the track – but that she will run at Aintree (coronavirus permitting). “A very competitive race with some excellent mares in it. Another journey she has taken us on which we never dreamt would happen,” added Sivills. “She did us proud and has nothing to prove.”