Ottery St Mary trainer seeking second successive win for Dawson City in Devon National
- Credit: Archant
It’s the Healthy Pets Devon National next Friday (February 22) at Exeter Racecourse and local trainer Polly Gundry, who trains racehorses near Ottery St Mary, is hoping for a second success with Dawson City, writes Lucy Johnson.
Racecourse director and former champion point-to-point rider Polly is planning to run her popular bay Dawson City, who won the race last year.
Andrew Thornton, who has since retired, was in the saddle, and when the pair galloped to victory, cheers could be heard across Haldon forest, such was the popularity of the win.
Polly said: “It was great to win as Exeter is very dear to me. I’ve been involved as a director since 2010, and it’s also a very fair track with excellent racing.”
Races with the moniker ‘national’ are run the length and breadth of the country and are immensely popular with owners and trainers alike because they are run over long distances, giving horses like Dawson City the chance to win a big prize.
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Polly explained: “What Dawson City hasn’t got is a lot of speed, but he has plenty of staying power, so he comes into his own after they’ve run about three and a quarter miles. Nationals are great for horses who love to race, but aren’t very quick!”
Dawson City has been trained with the race in mind, with plenty of galloping and days in the hunting field to keep him fresh and trim.
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Polly said: “He doesn’t really look like a racehorse, and is more of a middle weight hunter, and tends to get a bit portly, so he goes hunting a lot to keep him trim, although he has to wear grass reins as he tends to take a mouthful of grass and then gallop off!”
Advance bookings offer a popular £5 offer for pre-booked Grandstand and Paddock tickets for groups of ten or more. The first race is off at 2pm, with gates opening at noon. A free bus runs from Exeter St Davids (12.15pm) and Exeter Bus Station (12.30pm), returning half an hour after the last race.
More details can be found at www.exeter-racecourse.co.uk.