Ottery St Mary-based trainer retains Devon National title as Dawson City triumphs again

Dawson City in action. Picture EXETER RACECOURSE

Dawson City in action. Picture EXETER RACECOURSE - Credit: Archant

Dawson City proved the most popular winner of the day at Exeter Racecourse when he landed the Healthy Pets Devon National for the second year under a superb ride from Tom Bellamy, writes Lucy Johnson.

Dawson City in action. Picture EXETER RACECOURSE

Dawson City in action. Picture EXETER RACECOURSE - Credit: Archant

It was the fruition of a finely plotted plan by Ottery St Mary-based trainer Polly Gundry that was instigated within days of his 2018 win.

She explained: “It’s the perfect race for him. It’s a three miles six furlongs race on a staying track and as he only gets going after three miles, its ticks all the boxes.

“He’s slow, but he’s so efficient over his fences and at covering the ground. He’s also genuine and he tries so hard and racing is about not disappointing horses like this.”

Polly’s instructions to her jockey were to go out and enjoy himself. “I said to Tom if you’re enjoying it, and h’s enjoying it, you’ll have a nice ride and they both had a great time,” she said.

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The trainer is already planning the race as her 2020 target and meanwhile will be enjoying plenty of days hunting on him to keep him trim and fit. “He’s a big bullock of a horse and he easts absolutely everything so he does go hunting a lot, just so he can’t spend the day eating and to help get him fit,” she said.

It was a terrific day of racing with some very nice horses in the winners enclosure. The classy Printing Dollars added to her course success with a comfortable win n the Handicap Hurdle. The six-year-old was sent off the 9-4 favourite on her handicap debut and won by **

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Jockey Sam Waley-Cohen said: “She jumps very well and she’s happy in front or behind. She’s very professional given how little she’s done.”

The Pertemps Network had attracted a decent field, including Cheltenham Gold Cup second Minella Rocco who was having a prep run for the Randox Health Grand National. But it was the Emma Lavelle-trained Flemcara came home the winner under Aidan Coleman taking up the lead at the final flight and finding more up the run in to hold off his rivals and win.

“There’s a fair chance he’ll go to Cheltenham for the final but he wouldn’t want the ground any quicker. On the back of that performance, he wouldn’t be going to make up the numbers,” said Emma.

The Nicky Henderson-trained Epatante was the easiest winner of the day cruising to success in the Visit Exeter Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle landing the odds at 1-6 on under Barry Geraghty.

Umbrigado, trained by David Pipe, won the GG Tips Novices’ ruled under Tom Scudamore leading the trainer to comment: “He’s one of the nicest youngsters I have in training and I’ve liked him since day one. Hopefully, he might end up at Cheltenham next year.”

A few too many at the Cheltenham Festival sale proved fortuitous for Andrew Maddox and Steve Langdon after they purchased two horses, including Dinos Benefit, winner of the GG Fast Results MAres’ Handicap Hurdle who won under Harry Cobden.

Cobden doubled up on the Paul Nicholls-trained Captain Cattistock, winner of the Podcast Chase and Noel Fehily scored in the concluding bumper for Harry Fry on Get In The Queue.

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