MARIE McGuiness saddled a double at Flete Park on Saturday where Polly Gundry, who leads the national championship, was also in double form.
Over To Charlie had been readied for a run under Rules, but a cough ruled her out and trainer Philip Hobbs suggested she had a summer at home before being tried in point-to-points. She duly won the open maiden in good style under Gundry on her second start.
Her owner/breeder, former international showjumper and commentator Stephen Hadley who leases her to Di Milsom and Michael Bates, said: “I sent her to Ginny Turnbull and she showjumped for a while. She is a natural jumper and if she’s no good as a racehorse she’ll go eventing.”
It was a late decision to run at Flete, but with the ground in good order, Hadley was delighted with the mare’s performance. “I’m really pleased with the way she has jumped today,” he said.
McGuiness also trained restricted winner Winning Connection who out battled Ryeman and Wee Fly on the run-in to win by half a length under Richard Woollacott.
Gundry’s second winner came on Benarina who was a first ever success for owner Shirley Wills. The mare is trained by Gundry and Ed Walker and was bought last December at Exeter Market.
The Gordon Chambers-trained Sara Monica gave a text book round of jumping under Will White to win the men’s open, her second success at the course this season. The 11 year old will eventually be retired for stud duties but if the ground is right she’ll be out again this season.
Emily Nozskay rode a well time race on Kingsmill Lake to win the ladies’ open. Trainer Jackie Du Plessis said a hunter chase at Stratford could be next on the agenda for the ten year old.
Noszkay, 19, was awarded the Totnes and Bridgetown Races Co Ltd Trophy for the leading novice rider at the course, but there was a sad end to the day for the du Plessis family after their home bred Miss Ziggerson collapsed and died having finished third in the confined.
The race went to Fort of Gold who is owned by Jimmy Frost and trained by his wife Nikki. Stuart Payne, who was in the saddle, was recording his fifth win in the Devon and Cornwall area. “He’s a grand schoolmaster and he jumps really well. He’s such a genuine horse too,” he said.
Open maiden: Over To Charlie (P Gundry) 1; Fine Enough (S Ellis) 2. Distance: 4l; time: 6.56.
Restricted: Winning Connection (R Woollacott) 1; Ryeman (D Cook) 2; Wee Fly (P Gundry). ½ l, ¾ l; 6.40.
Ladies’ Open 4 miles: Kingsmill Lake (Miss E Nozskay) 1; Grey Ciseaux (Miss E Apps); 3 Matrix (Miss N Rovai) 3. 6l,1 ½ l, 8.19.
Open maiden 4, 5 & 6 yr olds: Benarina (Miss P Gundry) 1; Royal Choice (J Barnes) 2; Bethebestyoucanbe (S Payne). 8l; 3/4 l; 5.32.
Men’s Open: Sara Monica (W White) 1; Peter’s Two Fun (J Barnes) 2; The Quarryman (R Woollacott) 3. 25l, runin; 6.49.
Confined: Fort of Gold (S Payne) 1; Concert Pianist (R Woollacott) 2; Miss Ziggerson (Miss E Nozskay) 3. 1l, dist; 6.41.