POLLY Gundry was the jockey on form on testing ground at Black Forest Lodge on Sunday where she booted home four winners, the first on Dr Cerullo in the Ladies’. His win came at the expense of Croix De Guerre who was knocked out of the race by a loose horse when approaching the final fence when he was travelling like the winner.
Bally Blue was left in front but Dr Cerullo proved he has stamina in abundance, staying all the way to the winning post to get a neck verdict from the judge.
Ed Walker, who trains the winner with Gundry near Ottery St Mary, said: “He was ridden to stay - and an old head counts on this ground!”
Winner number two came in the following Exeter Racecourse’s Intermediate race, where Lord Attica came home an easy winner for owner Sandra Booked whose son-in-law Bradley Clarke trains the nine-year-old in Oxfordshire.
Two years on the side lines with a leg have done little to dent the gelding’s enthusiasm and his win would have proved a welcome tonic for Mrs Clarke’s husband Robert, at home recuperating from a broken neck following a car crash. Gundry’s association with the family goes back many years, having worked with Bradley and she is godmother to his son Charlie.
It was back to the winners’ enclosure again in the next race, a competitive looking Restricted where Gundry, on Rockwithacaveman, faced Margem Abbey, a decent winner at the course last time. The pair came down the final hill together, but Rockwithacaveman, given a nudge by Gundry, drew clear to win by five lengths. Walker admitted they thought Margem Abbey was the one to beat. “Whatever he does this year, he’ll be better again next year. We had a bit of luck with the first winner, but not this one,” he added.
The first of three maiden races also went Gundry’s way when Francly Flora got the better of Arctic Shot on the run in after the two jumped the last upsides in terrific style. A half sister to What A Mover, Walker explained that Gundry had really rated that horse and had deliberately sought out Francly Flora.
The second maiden went to Bill Jones, ridden by Richard Woollacott and the third Noeud Vert who won easily in the hands of Sam Allwood, deputising for Katherine Hobbs who gave up the ride following her fall from Croix De Guerre.
In the Confined, Winter Scene made it two out of two this season when winning for the second time at the course under her rider/trainer Lucy Gardner. Last season the eight-year-old’s form tailed off having won four races, but Lucy said she believed the mare was suffering the side effects of medicine administered to treat sarcoids, and she showed she is as good as ever winning easily.
Minsgill Mans pulled up last time at Tweseldown in January and his owner/trainer John Tudor said he thought the race may have come too soon when he faced hot competition and was always back peddling. But fit here, he won the Men’s Open, under James Tudor, by eight lengths and will probably be seen again in his native Wales.
A1 Farm Buildings Confined: Winter Scene (Miss L Gardner) 1; Dare Too Dream (Mr N Harris) 2; Maxou Des Brosses (Mr R Bliss) 3. Trainer: Miss L Grdner; Distances 10l, ¾ l; Time: 6.34
The Fingle Bridge Inn Men’s Open: Mingsgill Mans (Mr J Tudor) 1; Koumba (Mr T David) 2; The Kings Fling (Mr R Woollacott) 3. Mr J W Tudor; 8l, 15l; 6.34.
The RH Advertising Ladies’ Open: Dr Cerullo (Miss P Gundry) 1; Bally Blue (Miss R Green) 2; Swifts Hill (Miss I Tompsett) 3. P Gundry and E Walker; nk, 20l; 6.36.
The Exeter Racecourse Intermediate: Lord Attica (Miss P Gundry) 1; Castle Cazza (Miss R Green) 2; Little Word (Mr S Allwood) 3. Mr B J Clarke; 220l; 15l; 6.44.
West Devon Meat Restricted: Rockwithacaveman (Miss P Gundry) 1; Margam Abbey (Miss L Rowsell) 2; Massini Man (Miss L Gardner) 3. P Gundry and E Walker; 5l, dist; 6.40
The Helpful Holidays Open Maiden Div 1: Francly Flora (Miss P Gundry) 1; Arctic Shot (Miss J Buck) 2; Lord Shark (Mr N Harris) 3. Miss P Gundry; nk, dist; 6.47.
The Hi-Line Contractors Open Maiden Div 2: Bill Jones (Mr R Woollacott) 1; Amber Dawn (Mr J Barnes) 2; Fleeting Magic (Miss P Gundry) 3. Mr P Hamer; 10l, dist; 6.57.
The Francis Clark Open Maiden Div 3: Noeud Vert (Mr S Allwood) 1; Imperial Sam (Miss L Rowsell) 2; Arvakur (Miss P Gundry) 3. Mrs M McGuiness; dist, 10l; 6.56.