Philip Kirby Racing

Racehorse Trainer based at Richmond, North Yorkshire

Thursday 17th News, Spring targets & videos

Lady Buttons relaxing ahead of a big day next Friday

We’ve been having a quiet week with only Newcomer Hurricane Hugo running Tuesday for a midfield spot on his bumper debut on the AW at Newcastle. This was a satisfactory debut and he’ll be going Novice hurdling shortly along with Adelphi Prince.

Newcomer Adelphi Prince

A short video of first lot and Lady Buttons & Dares to Dream in the paddock…

There are only a couple of entries for this week – Master Newton a possible runner at Musselburgh in the bumper and Northern Girl heading to Ayr for a Mares Handicap Hurdle, she is likely to be joined in the box by Adelphi Prince. Northern Girl hasn’t had a lot of luck in her career so far but she has run some good races and we’d love her to win for Ownaracehorse & our Topspec Partnership.

Tommy with Northern Girl

We received some great news from Tommy pictured here – yesterday afternoon he was passed fit to race-ride by the doctors and he can’t wait to get going again. He’s been in riding out these last couple of weeks and getting back to full fitness.

Pullman Brown & Henry riding up the Carpet Track that runs all round the farm at Green Oaks and leads to the gallop.


Looking ahead to some big races coming up, we have Lady Buttons going to Huntingdon next Friday providing the ground is safe. It’ll be the first right handed chase she has ran in, and all her wins so far have been left handed so we have an added test involved. She’ll be without her regular partner Adam this time but we wish him good luck for getting back as soon as possible and he’s now at Jack Berry House getting the best possible recuperation. Buttons has featured in a lot of newspaper reports recently and there was a great piece in the Racing Post on Tuesday.

It’s been much publicised that she has an entry in the Queen Mother Champion Chase – the stuff that dreams are made of! We’ll see how she comes through Huntingdon and take it from there but naturally her Owners and Phil would love her take her chance if it’s a realistic one.

Phil & Buttons yesterday

Other Cheltenham possibles for us this year are our ultra tough staying hurdler, ‘Nautical Nitwit’ ( The Stayers or a The Pertemps final ) and Top Ville Ben – RSA Chase. Nautical Nitwit runs in a Pertemps Qualifier at Musselburgh in early February and then we’ll decide which race he goes for at the Festival but he’s 10 years old and he takes his chance in one of these providing he is fit and well. To think that he was bought cheaply from Ascot Sales, is now rated 149 and a West Yorkshire Hurdle winner…..he’s an absolute legend.

Nautical Nitwit who goes to Cheltenham

Top Ville Ben yesterday at home

Despite being one in of the top 5 highest rated bracket amongst the entries, ( an official rating of 153) Ben is virtually ignored at 50-1 in the betting. This is interesting and if he wins the Towton Novice Chase at Wetherby on Feb 2nd he will surely shorten. However, there’s sure to be some  decent novices to beat that day and it will be another major step forward if he can build on his two novice wins so far this season at Hexham & Wetherby.

Ben kicking clear on his last run against some decent opposition

Despite being error prone over hurdles, sound jumping has been a factor in his success over the larger obstacles so far and he appears to be able to maintain a high cruising speed. He also copes well with very soft ground and it wouldn’t want to be too quick to have Cheltenham on the agenda. Jenni gets on really well with him at home and this former box walker and hard puller, although still a little odd, is a transformed  and much happier character.

Top Ville Ben with Top Cat

We feel very lucky to have such an exciting Novice and the way he stays and likes to be prominent, he could quite easily be a Grand National Horse for future years.

While double winner this season ‘Wemyss Point’ is rated high enough for a race such as The Martin Pipe, ( he is 138) we don’t think he’ll like the frenetic early gallop and being taken on so he is likely to have a different end of season target, there are plenty of good opportunities for him and he’ll appreciate the Spring ground. ‘Niven’ is also unlikely for Cheltenham now but he is a lovely young horse and one for some big days in the future, he ran soundly for a close 3rd at Huntingdon in a hot race and we think he may appreciate a stiffer test. Dares to Dream, although narrowly beaten on her latest start, lost nothing in defeat carrying a penalty against the boys and she heads next to the Listed Mares Bumper final at Aintree on the Thursday, Foxhunter day. She is having a quiet few weeks before resuming full work and this mare is by Beneficial, like our other stars Top Ville Ben and Lady Buttons.

Kilcullen Flem and Courtown Oscar are two established staying chasers and they are both gearing up for a ‘big one’ in February. We are keen to give them a prep run but need some serious rain to fall before they can take their chance – Flem’s target is likely to be the Devon Grand National at Exeter and hopefully Courtown will make it third time lucky to get into the Eider Chase. Both boys have also been placed at the Punchestown Festival over 3m 5f and they are both likely starters again if conditions are in their favour.

Courtown Oscar yesterday

Stargazer is another stable Star with a Spring date in the calendar, he goes for the Fast Track All Weather Stayers Championship at Lingfield in April, and he’ll have a prep run at either Newcastle or Lingfield, he holds a couple of entries and he is ready to run. Stargazer has some top class turf form but he also loves the AW and has had a win and three seconds so far for us ( arguably 2 wins but controversially lost the race in The Stewards) and he goes to the final with a serious chance. Predictably, since we are considered to be a Northern Jumping yard, several of the horses whom he beat recently at Newcastle, figure much shorter on the betting!

Stargazer quickens clear in the colours of the Hassall family to win his Fast Track Qualifier

With fantastic prizemoney on offer we don’t need to be having a bet, but it’s interesting that they make the huge  Godolphin horse he beat comfortably into 2nd here such a short price to beat him round this sharper track. Phil has resisted the urge to run him in a Novice Hurdle although wouldn’t he be an exciting recruit to the jumps. Being by Canford Cliffs you would think he could reach a very high level if going that route but with such high flat prizes on offer and history of time off with various niggles, he’ll be keeping four hooves on the ground.

Remaining on the flat, another race to note is The Lincoln in which we plan to run 102 rated ‘South Seas’ – bought last Autumn at the Tattersalls H.I.T sales, he’s cantering every day and coming to hand nicely. He’s a high class recruit to our flat team and we hope he likes it ‘Up North’!

South Seas back into work, pictured  here with Caitlin

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