Vinnie Lewis can give Harry Whittington one of his biggest successes to date in Saturday's Eider Handicap Chase (2.45) at Newcastle, writes CHARLIE CROASDALE.

Just over four miles in length, the Eider is traditionally one of the toughest races of the season and this year's renewal looks like being particularly gruelling given heavy ground conditions in the north-east.

Not only will the winner need to stay but they'll have to be a serious mud-lover and Vinnie Lewis fits the bill. The seven-year-old was brought along steadily by shrewd handler Whittington after switching from JJ Mangan's Irish yard, but relished the soft ground at Sedgefield off a mark of 113 before spread-eagling a competitive-looking Sussex National in early January, hacking up off 127 under Harry Bannister.

Vinnie Lewis was value for much more than the six-length margin that day and a 9lb rise looks perfectly fair given his upwardly improving profile. He carries a nice racing weight here and this appears to have been the plan since that Plumpton success.

Baywing and Milansbar - under the excellent claimer Bryony Frost - looks the main dangers but I'm siding with Bannister to hold Vinnie Lewis up, be bang there three out, and power on up the Newcastle straight.

In the Betfred Like Us On Facebook Handicap Hurdle (3.55), Lady Buttons can prove well handicapped over timber off 135 if declared for his race rather than the Novices' Chase earlier on the card.

Phil Kirby's eight-year-old racked up a soft-ground hat-trick last winter before making an extremely taking winning debut over fences at Bangor in November. She has enjoyed two trips to Leopardstown since, bumping into the top-class Let's Dance before running a belter back in handicap company at the Dublin Racing Festival three weeks ago, looking the likely winner two out but ultimately proving no match for Alletrix, herself an excellent prospect, giving 13lb away.

That could prove a hot race and this looks far less competitive and the bare two miles on heavy ground should be right up Lady Buttons' street. She should be backed to record an eighth career victory.

At a massive price at Lingfield today I'm going to chance Gorgeous in the Betway Handicap (2.45).

Tony Carroll's five-year-old has disappointed in two recent starts at Wolverhampton and Kempton, but has been dropped 3lb to a mark of 53 as a result. A revival has looked unlikely of late, but based on her run in November at Wolverhampton - rattling home for second with excellent closing sectionals - she would have a good chance here if repeating that sort of form. She's well drawn in stall five and I'm hopeful Dougie Costello can spring a big surprise against some exposed rivals.

Finally, at Wolverhampton tonight Scuzeme should take some beating in the Betway Novice Stakes (6.45).

A winner over five furlongs at Newcastle last winter, the four-year-old was heavily-backed for a course and distance handicap in October but couldn't recover from a slow start.

Off the track since (136 days, won after similar break last January), Scuzeme takes a drop in class and steps back into novice company, with Michael Attwater's Just That Lord looking the key danger. However, I'll take David Barron's charge to claim the spoils.