Happy Diva heading for Houghton date

Happy Diva heads to Carlisle on Sunday for the Listed Houghton Mares’ Chase.

Kerry Lee’s stable star was in the process of running another good race in the Paddy Power Gold Cup last time out when she fell at the second last.

Happy Diva is one of eight entries for Sunday’s two-and-a-half-mile contest and while she is the highest rated in the field, Lee is wary of the potential opposition.

“It looks a good opportunity, but it’s not without dangers,” she said.

Kerry Lee (right) after Happy Diva won last year's Bet Victor (now Paddy Power)
Kerry Lee (right) after Happy Diva won last year’s Bet Victor (now Paddy Power) Gold Cup (Nigel French/PA)
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“There are a couple of other really nice mares in Chilli Filli and My Old Gold. They definitely have to be respected and we won’t be going there not expecting a fight.

“It was frustrating in the Paddy Power, she was still right in contention when coming down.

“I was just relieved to see her get up in one piece and she should have every chance this weekend. Her ultimate target is the mares’ chase at the Festival.

“I’d pretty much think that this is her last season.”

Lee looks to have the perfect candidate to step in to her shoes as a Saturday horse in Demachine, who impressed again at Ascot last weekend to remain unbeaten over fences.

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When asked how he had come out the race Lee replied: “He came out of it 8lb higher!

“We’ll see how we go, nothing is set in stone at the moment and he’s still only a 140 horse – the big guns are out at Newbury this weekend.

“I daren’t wax lyrical about him just yet, that was only the sixth run of his life and he’s still only six. We minded him last year and we probably will do again this year.

“He’ll be out again at the end of December at either Chepstow or Newbury in another novice handicap.

“I’m not in any desperate rush with him this season. I’m not going to make any bold plans, I’d rather build up his confidence ahead of next season when he might be a Ladbrokes Trophy horse.”

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