A PIECE of point-to-point history was created at Wadebridge on Saturday when seven-times lady champion jockey Polly Gundry rode into the record books. Her two winners at the showground took her career tally to 288, thus overtaking the now retired Alison Dare’s existing record.
Polly’s first two rides on Saturday finished third and second respectively, but an easy win on Mulligan’s Pet in the Intermediate put her level for the record. Her only other ride came in the final race of the day on six-year-old Ned The Post, and victory seemed unlikely as she trailed in a remote fourth place with a circuit to go. Ned obviously sensed there was a job to do and Polly galvanised him to pass two of his rivals before the last fence. Staying on stoutly up the final hill, Ned The Post got his head in front in the last few strides to secure a famous victory.
Talking about the run of the race, Polly said, “I thought they went too fast early on and sat out the back with Neil Harris”. “I said to him after half way we might have left it a bit late but the leaders began to tire and I knew we had a chance. We still had four lengths to catch up at the last”, said the elated rider, describing her mount as, “A brilliant jumper who will go on to bigger and better things”. Talking of her double to break the record with the two horses she also trains, she said, “It was quite a relief to get it done in a day.” The 34 year old champion, who rode her first winner in 1994, now trains about 30 pointers alongside her partner Ed Walker at Ottery St Mary. Ed had to saddle two others from the yard at the Cothelstone fixture on the same day, thus missing Polly’s celebration champagne shower in the unsaddling enclosure.
Course specialist Innocent Rebel recorded the fastest time of the day in winning the Ladies’ Open, ridden this time by Chloe Roddick. “He loves the faster ground”, said trainer Karyn Heard. Glacial Call also does well here and has now won three of her four races this season on the undulating showground track, ridden each time by Richard Hawkins, whose six winners this term puts him at the head of the National Male Novice riders’ championship.
Glacial Call is trained by Nikki Frost, who just missed out on a double when Sporting Rebel went under to Prince de Bersy in the Men’s Open. Ben Robarts was partnering his second winner of the season on a horse he jointly owns with Ruth Burrow. “My horses have just come back to themselves”, said trainer Ashley Farrant who also scored with King’s Wood at Cothelstone on the same day.
The Open Maiden had to be divided on the day. Lady Earle’s Stitchnick won the first section readily to give novice rider Ben Clarke his second winner in the week, and 19-year-old Irishman Jerry McGrath gave a stylish ride to Red Twist to take the other division.
Open Maiden Division 1
Open Maiden Division 2