GBI RACING

Phil Kirby eyeing Castleford contest for Lady Buttons

Lady Buttons is set to return to Wetherby later in the month

Lady Buttons could bid to continue her excellent start to the season in the Castleford Chase at Wetherby later this month.

Phil Kirby’s versatile mare kicked off her campaign by claiming her fifth and most notable victory over hurdles to date in a Listed contest at Wetherby in November.

She reverted to fences in a valuable handicap at Newbury on Saturday and secured her third win from just four starts over the larger obstacles with a typically determined display in the hands of regular pilot Adam Nicol.

The handicapper on Tuesday handed her a 9lb rise in the weights and Kirby is keeping his fingers crossed she can continue to progress.

He said: “She’s gone up 9lb, which is probably fair enough. It’s more annoying that the handicapper has put her up 3lb over hurdles as well. I don’t know how she’s improved over hurdles since her last run, but there you go.

“She’s come out the race on Saturday really well and hasn’t missed a day since.

“All being well, the plan is to take her to Wetherby for the Castleford on December 27. She might also be entered in mares’ races – there’s a Listed mares’ chase at Doncaster (December 29), but that’s over two-and-a-half and I want to keep her to two miles if I can.

“She’s obviously going up the ladder all the time and hopefully she can continue to do so.”

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