‘Great day’ at Wetherby wel­comed by Kirby

Yorkshire Post - Sports Monday - - RACING - TOM RICH­MOND

PHIL KIRBY en­joyed the best day of his train­ing ca­reer when com­plet­ing a re­mark­able tre­ble on Char­lie Hall Chase day at Wetherby.

The run of suc­cess be­gan when sta­ble star Lady But­tons won the Listed Mares Hur­dle from Os­car Rose and Ir­ish Roe.

Owned and bred by Jayne and Keith Sivills, Cat­t­er­ick-based Kirby be­lieves Lady But­tons will be even bet­ter over fences as the sea­son pro­gresses.

Run­ner up 12 months ago, Lady But­tons was, once again, part­nered by reg­u­lar rider Adam Ni­col who couldn’t be­lieve how well the horse trav­elled in the race be­fore surg­ing clear.

It was a con­fi­dence-boost­ing win for Kirby who spent five months on the in­jury side­lines with a bro­ken left hand. “This means ev­ery­thing,” he said. “Though she won a Listed Chase last sea­son, this is spe­cial be­cause I’ve been off. Hope­fully it will get the sea­son go­ing.”

Mean­while, his col­league Tommy Dow­son, an­other rider, com­ing back from in­jury, was aboard Nau­ti­cal Nitwit who sur­vived a cou­ple of jump­ing er­rors in the home straight to land the Grade Two West York­shire Hur­dle.

The most sig­nif­i­cant suc­cess in the ca­reer of the con­di­tional rider who could not use his weight al­lowance, Nau­ti­cal Nitwit stuck gamely to his task to hold off Old Guard by a length and a half.

“I would never have be­lieved he’d be win­ning a Grade Two but he’s so tough,” said Kirby, who be­lieved Nau­ti­cal Nitwit had blown his chance at the third last – and then again at the fi­nal flight.

“He’s not a good jumper at the best of times and he made a blun­der at the last but it didn’t stop him. It’s been a great day. This place is close to home for us which means it’s close to the pub!”

Down­son then part­nered Weymss Point to win the fi­nale on a dream day that the Kirby team will never for­get.

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