Sunday 20th February 2011
by Lucy Johnson
Oscatello proved Sunday's most impressive winner of the day at Buckfastleigh when he came home the easy winner of the AGA-sponsored ladies' open championship qualifier.
Suzy Berry guided the 11year old to a seven length victory from the Polly Gundry-ridden Jean's Joy.
His trainer Ross Oliver handed all the plaudits to Penny Lay who has been keeping both Oscatello and his other horse Wee Fly fit while he has been undergoing treatment for an illness. While the final at Cheltenham on May 4 is the target, sites are firmly set closer to home with Oliver hoping to saddle the winner of his local members' race at Trebudannon.
Oliver also owns the winner of the Leech Racing Confined Maiden Race for Mares and Fillies, Acting Tougher who is trained by Polly Gundry and was ridden by Ed Barrett.
Southwestern scored his second success of the season when taking the 12-runner men's open race under Neil Harris.
The veteran has been rejuvenated this season, adding to the 17 wins he has scored throughout his career and connections said he is likely to remain point-to-pointing, rather than going under Rules, while he is clearly enjoying it so much.
Trainer Camilla Scott and Harris later teamed up to land the closing Last Post Restricted race with Special Account, an eight year old who had run well behind the impressive Blackstaff to finish second at Black Forest Lodge.
Michael McMahoin described his home bred mare Princess de Rome as being as hard as nails after she refused to give in to the challenge of Lucette Annie down the run in to win the Exeter Racecourse Intermediate race by a head.
Remarkably, the seven-year-old was at death's door two years ago when she had an injury to her hind leg. "She eventually made a full recovery but she had a gaping hole in her hund leg," said McMahon who added that she doesn't show a lot at home and so they weren't sure how straight she was.
Prudent George proved a game winner of the first division of the Farriers of South Devon Confined Maiden Race coming home the half length winner under Jamie Thomas from Tamaton. The winner was bred by her trainer Nikki Frost and is now owned by Janet McCormack.
The second division went to Reuben Chapman's Darnay's Whistle, an eight year old ridden by Darren Edwards who was purchased at Ascot Sales last November.