Mam Ratagan is helping put Heather Main on the map after a remarkable journey, which has taken her from the American Deep South to train at Kingston Lisle, near Wantage.

The nine-year-old ended a long wait for a relieved Main, providing her first winner with a smooth success at Stratford last month.

Mam Ratagan was her 55th runner after she took out a full licence to train at Kingston Common Farm in April 2009.

And now the bay gelding has doubled the 41-year-old handler’s tally by winning at Ffos Las.

Peter Toole was in the saddle again as the son of Mtoto made all the running to beat Quedillac by ten lengths in a two-mile novices’ chase on Sunday.

“He is a star,” said Main of her charge. “It is quite special because he ran so well last year.

“He came second (to Consigliere) last November on Hennessy weekend in a big handicap and beat a lot of good horses.

“Then it was really frustrating, so it was nice when he won at Stratford and again at Ffos Las, which was quite a nice race.

“He jumps brilliantly and just outjumped them, he was the best horse in the race.”

Main learnt to ride as a teenager in Alabama in the shadow of the Blue Ridge Mountains where she became a champion rodeo rider.

At the same time, she sang the lead in the schools production of Carousel – prompting her to be called the “singing cowgirl from Alabama”.

But after starting studying at Atlanta University, she was overwhelmed by an urge to discover the world and transferred to Southampton to complete her English degree.

London was her next port of call to further her singing career at the Trinity College of Music.

And even now she continues to combine her love of singing and horses – entertaining the likes of the owners of Mam Ratagan, a music-loving syndicate aplty-named the Highnote Thoroughbreds.

“I’ve turned an old barn into a concert hall and give concerts to the syndicate members,” she said.

“I sing opera for people who love racing and opera. It’s nice having music out in the countryside.”

It was after working for Paul Cole at Whatcombe, she took the plunge to train, with the support of her husband, Newbury vet James Main.

Now she has a string of 26 – with the majority Flat horses – and is very proud of the six-furlong Safetrack all-weather gallop she has installed to work them on.

Many of her charges are young horses for the future.

But for the present, the focus is firmly on Mam Ratagan, who could run again at Cheltenham on Saturday.

“It depends on the ground – he needs good ground,” said the mother-of-two. “It is quite a good race, but you never know.”