POLLY Gundry was in fine form at the North Cornwall at Wadebridge. The National and Devon & Cornwall Area Ladies’ title holder was in the winner’s enclosure with Dr Cerullo and Ballybrown, and her other two mounts were each placed.
Dr Cerullo followed up his December course win in the Ladies’ Open, drawing clear of Dante’s Back up the final hill. “He was a bit keen but stayed on nicely”, remarked Polly, who trains the eight-year-old with her partner Ed Walker at Ottery St Mary. “Ed has gone off to Robert Wakley’s stag weekend, but keeps phoning me every half an hour to find out what is happening”, smiled Polly. Dr Cerullo is owned by a small local syndicate called The Otters Club consisting of Sheamus Machin, Will Furnival, Dick Webb and Mike Rayner.
The champion lady completed her double with an easy win on Ballybrown in the Confined. Owned by Charlie Rush and trained by Becky Kennen, this gelding has now won four times at Wadebridge. Polly sent her mount clear in the closing stages, finishing ten lengths ahead of The Boss Roche. Becky Kennen trains high up on Bodmin Moor and said, “It has been a nightmare on the moor recently with either frost or a bog making life difficult for us. Ballybrown tends to be a bit lively and has still got a bit to learn,” she added.
The Men’s Open ended in a dead heat between Holly Walk and Mioche D’Estruval. The latter just led over the last but was caught by his rival on the line. Running Hot finished a creditable third under 16 year old Josh Newman, just ahead of Doof. Tavistock-based Jimmy Cole, who rode his own mare Holly Walk, has the Christie’s Foxhunter at Cheltenham in March as a tentative objective, via a hunter chase at Fontwell Park. Ben Robarts partnered his own Mioche D’ Estruval, who is trained by Ashley Farrant at Bampton. This former NH and pointing winner missed the whole of last season with a strained tendon, and had his first run for 18 months at Barbury Castle last month.
Ashley Farrant also saddled Master Overseer to win the Red Mills Intermediate. Danny Cook, who is currently leading the NH amateur riders’ title race, got his mount up inside the last 75 yards to beat Ha Ho Magregor. The winner came to Ashley after being bought at Doncaster sales last May, and is owned by Dubliner Paddy Griffin. “The ground was in his favour today because he need soft ground”, said the trainer.
Another happy Irishman was 84 year old Nick Power, not an owner, but the breeder of Hunt race winner Gemgaballou. This six-year-old mare is now owned and trained by Roma Cook, and was ridden by her niece Lucy Gardner. Lucy’s mum had given a phone commentary to Ireland and was delighted to relate the first ever breeding success to the octogenarian breeder who lives at Oldcastle near Dublin.
All eight entries ran in the Restricted, won in good style by the imposing Ellies Horse. Sam Allwood had his mount with the leaders throughout, and the grey stayed on strongly to beat his main market rival Busy Buzzard. Karyn Heard trains this seven-year-old for a syndicate headed by vet Phil Browne and he was following up his maiden win on this track in December. “He needs better ground and will be put away for a few weeks now”, remarked the trainer.
Stillhertoes shaped like a promising stayer when taking the maiden under Will White. Bred by her trainer Gordon Chambers, the mare is owned by Tim Winzer and his family, wife Sue and son David. “She has strengthened up well this year” said the trainer.
The Mick Moore Hunt Race: 1: Gemgaballou (Miss L Gardner): finished alone; 6 mins 43 secs
The Stephens & Scown Men’s Open: dead heat between Holly Walk (J Cole) and Mioche D’Estruval (B Robarts); 3: Running Hot (J Newman); dead heat, 3l; 6 m 30
The Greens Café Padstow Ladies’ Open: 1; Dr Cerullo (Miss P Gundry); 2; Dante’s Back (Mrs M Hand) 3; Winning Connection (Miss S Berry); 3l, 7l; 6m 41
The J F Foster & J F Consulting Restricted: 1; Ellies Horse (S Allwood); 2; Busy Buzzard (R Woollacott); 3; Tres Bien (W White); 3l, 6l 6m 42
The St Mabyn Inn Confined: 1; Ballybrown (Miss P Gundry); 2; The Boss Roche (R Woollacott); 3; Garston Star (J Cole); 10l, dist; 6m 40
The Connolly’s Red Mills Intermediate: 1; Master Overseer (D Cook); 2; Ha Ho Magregor (Miss S Berry); 3; Wee Fly (Miss P Gundry); 2l, 5l; 6m 34
The North Cornwall Hunt Committee Open Maiden: 1: Stillhertoes (W White); 2; Mulligan’s Pet (Miss P Gundry); 3; Dee Valley Boy (R Bliss); dist, ½ l 6m 42