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Sunday, 18 November, 2018

The small yard shooting for the stars with Dawson City

Dawson City (Wayne Hutchinson) jumps the second-last before bolting up
1 of 1

My Big Day: Polly Gundry

The horse: Dawson City

The race: Coral Scottish Grand National (Ayr 3.55)

The story: Devon-based Polly Gundry, 41, will have travelled just about the length of the nation to be at Ayr on Saturday with stable star Dawson City. In the last five years she has not been further north with a runner than Doncaster, and is more regularly spotted at the likes of Newton Abbot, Taunton, Wincanton and Fontwell.

Six of Gundry's 14 horses have won this season from a total of 56 starts but, in Sussex National runner-up Dawson City, who won his last start over three miles and a furlong at Wincanton, she has found a horse with the potential to give her the biggest win of her career since she saddled her first runner in the 2007-08 season.

She says: I think four miles will be key to him as he's not a speed merchant. We've always looked for really soft ground; it's not that we think better ground will inconvenience him but that he's not very quick. The four miles has got to be in his favour. The track should help too and, because he's a bit short and stumpy, he's better being allowed to get into gear and gallop. I think the course will suit, the fences should suit, and the distance has to be in his favour.

It's a very big deal for a yard like ours. I like to keep myself in good company and my horses in the worst, so this is a bit unusual for us, but he's in great nick and that's why I thought, 'Let's go up the road to Scotland'.

He's improved since his win and hasn't had a hard season. He deserves a crack at a big prize and if we try to win some small races and go a bit further up the handicap, then he'd have less chance. So we thought we'd give it a whirl. If he can jump round and finish in the frame that'd be great; we'll be having a party if he does any more. 

He's in great nick and that's why I thought sod it, let's go up the road to Scotland

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