Warren Greatrex feels La Bague Au Roi is getting back to form as the dual Grade One-winner bids for her first win of the season in a quality turnout for the MansionBet At Doncaster Yorkshire Silver Vase Mares’ Chase on Sunday.
Greatrex has been happier with the eight-year-old of late and was delighted with her effort in finishing third to Top Notch in the Peterborough Chase at Huntingdon.
The Upper Lambourn trainer believes it has taken La Bague Au Roi some time to recover from what was a tough novice chase campaign last season.
“It looks a good race. Obviously she ran well last time and has come out of it well,” he said.
“It’s a hot race, but she was taking on the boys last year and winning Grade Ones. It’s not a drop down, as I respect them all, but it should be more to her liking.
“She should like the track, the ground looks like it should dry out by Sunday, which will help. We’ll give it a go and see where we are.”
He added: “Fingers crossed. I was much happier with her last time and it’s probably just taken her time to find her feet.
“She had a hard season last season and it’s taken a bit of time for her to get it all together, but she seems well at home and we’ll give it a good go.”
Happy Diva showed she could beat the boys when winning one of the toughest handicaps in the jumps calendar, the BetVictor Gold Cup at Cheltenham.
Her trainer Kerry Lee reports the eight-year-old to be in good shape, but appreciates this is a different test.
“It’s hot. It’s the Mares’ Gold Cup!” she said.
“It’s great to see such a fine turnout and they all deserve to take their chance. Fingers crossed for another solid run.
“She’s been in great form. She’s pretty versatile when it comes to the ground and the track. Two and a half miles is her trip. She’s pretty consistent, so I’m sure she’ll run well, but it’s a hot race and due respect to the opposition.”
Lady Buttons won this race 12 months ago and reverts back to fences after running over hurdles for her first two races of the campaign.
She won a Listed prize at Wetherby and was fourth in the Fighting Fifth at Newcastle.
Trainer Phil Kirby realises Lady Buttons will have to be at her best to take this prize again.
“It’s very competitive. She’s in good order and she’s ready to go. We’ll go and take our chance,” said Kirby.
“She’s going to have to line up on the top of her game.”
Nicky Henderson has a leading contender in Casablanca Mix, who lifted a Listed prize at Aintree three weeks ago.
Noel Williams’ Sensulano is another recent Listed winner, while the Neil Mulholland-trained Queen’s Magic made a winning debut over fences at Huntingdon.