Lady Buttons arrives late to retain Doncaster Silver Vase
Lady Buttons got up in the final stride to just pip Happy Diva - with La Bague Au Roi close up third - in a thrilling renewal of the Yorkshire Silver Vase Mares' Chase at Doncaster.
Repeating her victory of 12 months ago, this year Lady Buttons faced far more strength in depth - La Bague Au Roi won two Grade Ones as a novice and Happy Diva landed the BetVictor Gold Cup at Cheltenham last time out.
Please log in or register with Independent.ie for free access to this article.
Added to the mix was Nicky Henderson's Casablanca Mix who arrived on a four-timer but was the first to come under pressure, and it soon involved only three.
La Bague Au Roi had adopted her usual front-running role under Richard Johnson and put in spectacular leaps on the way round, showing all her old enthusiasm. Phil Kirby's Lady Buttons (11/4) appeared to be travelling better than her two rivals all the way up the straight, but on jumping the last, she found herself a length down, and it appeared Happy Diva was going to prevail.
But Tommy Dowson, replacing the injured Adam Nicol, delivered the popular mare in front right on the line to win by a head. "I rode her last season and got there far too soon, but was on time today," said Dowson.
"She was Adam's ride, and he got hurt on Friday. As much as I've won on her, I'm gutted for Adam. He's done all the work on her."
Elsewhere, if Lostintranslation runs again before the Cheltenham Gold Cup it is more than likely to be in the Denman Chase at Newbury.
Colin Tizzard's Betfair Chase hero saw his winning run come to an abrupt end in the King George on St Stephen's Day when he was pulled up. Jockey Robbie Power felt he was caught out by his wind on the testing ground, and it will now be checked out to see if a procedure is required.
"Nothing else has come to light, and we are going to check his wind, and then it is our job to get him back for Cheltenham," said assistant trainer Joe Tizzard.
"Robbie said his palate was flapping, so we will have a look at his wind. It probably got exposed on soft ground. We looked at him Saturday morning, dad, myself and the head girl - but that (run) was just too bad to be true. The Gold Cup is still the aim - one bad run doesn't make him a bad horse."