08/12/2009 12:00AM

Mistress Bell taking on tougher

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Mistress Bell has been wowing them in the bushes, and it will be interesting to see if her form holds up when she faces tougher company in the feature race at Northlands Park on Friday.

The second-level allowance race for fillies and mares drew seven horses and goes as the seventh race.

Mistress Bell was beating up on weak competition in her first three starts in Lethbridge this year. However, in her easy win in the one-mile Trend Home Improvement Stakes at Grande Prairie on July 18, she easily handled a pretty nice filly in Desperate Dancer. A winner of 10 races and more than $100,000 in earnings, Desperate Dancer started twice at Northlands this year, finishing fourth in both the Sales Stakes on May 23 and a $40,000 optional claimer on July 8.

A 4-year-old Alberta-bred, Mistress Bell will make her first start for trainer Deanne Davies. In all of her previous races she ran out of the Les Adams barn. Jockey Kym Espy retains the mount.

Trained by Monica Russell, Viva Slew will appreciate the class relief and the move back to a sprint after running in three straight stakes races. The last time she ran in a conditional race she won a $32,000 optional race on May 16. In her latest start she forced a fast pace before fading in the $71,000 Northland Oaks at 1 1/16 miles on July 19.

Jake Barton rides Viva Slew.

Fine Feline is stepping up in class following a sharp win in a $15,000 claiming race for nonwinners of two on July 26. She was claimed out of her latest race by trainer Robertino Diodoro, and she could take a big step forward in her second start this year.