Larkhill Racing Club preview
2020 opens with the Larkhill Racing Club holding their meeting at Larkhill on Salisbury Plain on Sunday 5th January. Larkhill is an ideal place to blow away all the cobwebs and excesses from Christmas and the New Year festivities and this year there will be a very early start at 10.30am due to the large number of entries and two races have been divided meaning that there are now 9 scheduled races for racegoers to enjoy. The two feature races the Ladies Open and the Mens Open are very high quality races and the latter race includes the first two in the Foxhunters at Cheltenham last March. The going is currently good to soft and with the bends having been moved since the December meeting it should be excellent going for the day’s racing. The other change is that there will be two new fences since the December meeting.
The Skinner’s Ladies Open race is the first feature race and this has attracted a total of 14 entries. Southfield Theatre was a game winner of the Ladies at the December meeting and will be hard to beat. Big Casino ran a high quality race when second to Earth Leader in the Mens Open in December and the reduction in weight gives him a further chance. The Dellercheckout won a Mixed Open at Barbury on his point to point debut and looks very promising. Thomas Campbell won at Wadebridge for Chloe Emsley and is another exciting recruit to pointing. Rose Loxton has entered both Virak the winner of two Hunter Chases last season and the likely mount of Natalie Parker and Captain Buck’s previously with Paul Nicholls and is due to be ridden by Harriet Tucker. In a fascinating race Southfield Theatre might be able to use his course expertise to hold off the challenges of his younger rivals.
The Mens Open race sponsored by Connolly’s Red Mills features the first two home in the Cheltenham Foxhunters last March when Hazel Hill beat Shantou Flyer by four lengths. Whereas Hazel Hill won his remaining outing again at Cheltenham in May and remained unbeaten Shantou Flyer was not seen again and has now been moved by owner David Maxwell from Richard Hobson to Rose Loxton. If both declare the race ought to be between them and it should be a fascinating renewal. Of the other 18 entries Salvatore beat Coco Live in a Conditions race at the December meeting but both hold entries elsewhere on the card. Big Casino finished second to Earth Leader and would hold a chance on that form. Marten won at Dunsmore but this is a much stronger race. Highway Jewel won four races last season but this is a real step up. Green Winter enjoys his racing at Larkhill and he might be the one to give the leading duo the most to do. Hazel Hill is the selection.
The Woolley and Wallis sponsored Conditions Race which has been split into two divisions opens the meeting at 10.30. The first division may see the return of the veteran Adrenalin Flight trained locally by Sally Rawlins. He has become quite a Larkhill specialist but there are several younger horses who may be too good for him. Will Biddick has entered El Bandit placed at Wadebridge on his pointing debut and he should certainly be on the short list. Miss Seagreen won for Clive Bennett at the last meeting and is in good form. Woodfleet would come into the reckoning on his best form and Three Faces West ran well behind Salvatore at the last meeting. Rose Loxton has entered Chameron twice a winner over Hurdles at Auteuil but failed to win a race whilst residing at Ditcheat. He should be watched with interest but El Bandit is chosen to give Will another winner.
The second division may see a rematch between Salvatore and Coco Live although the former would have to carry a 9 pound penalty. Bubble O’Clock is an improving young horse and comes into calculations as does Kaki de la Pree who won easily at Ffos Las. Raddon Top is another progressive horse from the Leslie Jefford yard and Apple’s Queen will hopefully get more luck in running than his previous outing at Larkhill. Horizontal Speed put up an impressive performance at Barbury and if in the same mood he may give trainer Alan Hill and rider Charlie Marshall another winner.
The Open Maiden sponsored by We Do Vans for five year olds and upwards has been also split into two divisions. Of those with form in the first division Butter Hill Boris finished runner up at the last meeting and might go one better. Best to Come was clear when falling at Barbury and his jumping needs to improve before there can be much confidence in him. Of the newcomers Fedelta is owned by Trevor Hemmings and trained by Fran Nimmo, Kynance Cove is in the hands of Ciaran O’Brien, TheChaseison raced in Ireland but is now with Christopher Barber, Military Mischief was placed in Ireland in December and is now with Jane Western and Wykham a home bred gelding of Robert Waley-Cohen’s out of his successful mare Liberthine. A chance is taken with the last named to make a winning debut.
Division two again has a mixture of those who have raced and a number of newcomers. De Cigar Man has placed form in Ireland but missed all of last season and he should be watched. Fleur du Pommier ran some good races at Larkhill last season and is now with Harriet Waight. Montarlot also showed form at Larkhill last season and he could be in the mix. Fran Nimmo has entered the unraced Red Buccaneer and this Black Sam Bellamy gelding could make a winning debut. Bawnmore boasts some Irish form and is now with Tom Ellis and Snakelake Hill owned by Rose and Sam Loxton is another who appears to be running into form. Fran Nimmo’s charge is a tentative choice.
The biggest entry (24) is held for the Alec Jarrett Limited Restricted Race. A number of previous Maiden winners are entered including the unbeaten Tim Underwood owned mare Miss Massey who won her only outing last season at Edgcote. NormoftheNorth won his only outing for trainer Alan Hill at Kimble whereas Pass Rusher won his Maiden for Fran Nimmo at the first Larkhill meeting. Sylvies Dance won easily at Flete Park last season and is definitely on the upgrade as is Raised with Praise trained and owned by Luke Harvey and another winner at Larkhill from the previous meeting. Taboo won well at Ffos Las and Teeton Surprise won at Tabley. In a wide open looking race Sylvies Dance is chosen to continue her upward rise.
The Novice Riders race sponsored by Clarke Wilmott also contains entries for Adrenalin Flight, Chameron and El Bandit already mentioned before. If any of those named choose this race then they must have a good chance. Storm Lantern, Theatre Evening and Thereyarsee all have run well at Larkhill but the first and last named have some disappointing performances to put behind them. Theatre Evening is now trained by Louise Kittow and will be ridden by Micha Micklewright who began her riding career by riding her first winner at Larkhill. My Murphy ran in very soft ground at Ffos Las and provided he is none the worse for his efforts this veteran may find this a potentially easier race.
The meeting concludes with the Southern Counties Auctioneers Maiden Conditions race over two and a half miles. All horses must have run at least twice in point to points to be eligible for this race. So Socksy boasts the best English form with her runner up placing at Barbury. She may be able to go one better. Oscar World and Snakelake Hill were both fourth in Maidens at Wadebridge and should both improve. Harriet Brown has entered two new horses namely Baignard placed in Irish points in November and On Raglan Road placed for Charlie Longsdon in Hurdle races. Jenny Pidgeon has entered Atigun Pass placed in Ireland but has not raced since December 2018. So Socksy is chosen to record her first victory.
Larkhill Racecourse is to be found 5m NW of Amesbury, Nr A303, A345 and A360 – Postcode SP4 8QT. . First race 10.30am Entry Costs £10 per person, race cards £3, children go free
WESSEX & DEVON & CORNWALL AREA CALENDARS - SAE to Claire Hitch, Higher Sminhayes Farm, Brendon Hill, Watchet, Somerset, TA23 0LG
LARKHILL SEPCIALIST AWARDS 2019.
Monsieur Gibraltar (FR) — 30 points
Coco Live (FR) — 21 points
Stellar Notion (IRE) — 20 points
Matt Fielding — 36 points
Zac Baker — 34 points
Jack Andrews and Harriet Tucker — 30 points
Harriet Waight — 21 points
Frances Bishop — 17 points
Martin Wanless — 16 points
Rose Loxton — 33 points
Harriet Brown — 23 points
Sally Alner and Thomas Frost — 20 points
Jennifer Harbison — 10 points
Nick Phillips - 7 points
Charlie Dando, Harry Arkwright and James Jeavons— 3 points
Best Novice Horse
Country Legend — 34 points
Mankala - 26 points
Earth Leader,Milberry, Miss Seagreen - 20 points
South and West Wilts review
A glorious sunny Easter Saturday attracted a huge crowd to Larkhill to enjoy the final point to point meeting of the season, the South and West Wilts and all of the attractions that the Hunt had arranged. A lot of hard work had been put in on the ground before the meeting in the absence of any significant rain and this did provide some ease to the surface although the horses that relished a sound surface did prove to be the ones to follow on the day. Two riders will remember their day under different circumstances when they rode their first winners, one regular participant made his final appearance a winning one and there were a number of familiar horses taking up the challenge of the charity flat race which preceded the point to point races
The feature races , the two Open races, were both matches but the Ladies Race did have three horses declared to run with the prolific Coco Live a very short price to record his fifth victory of the season. Due to be ridden for the first time by Harriet Tucker the gelding was asked to trot up by the vet in the paddock and was determined not fit enough to participate in the race. This left Tiger Sam and Blue Benny ridden by Heidi Stevens and Hollie Greene respectively to battle it out and they produced the closest finish of the day when Tiger Sam won by half a length. Owned and trained by Laura Hurley at Oakford near Tiverton at stables formerly occupied by trainer Stuart Howe the gelding had some success when trained in Ireland by Noel Meade winning two chases. Heidi, 23, who works for Laura was recording her first career victory from only six rides having previously enjoyed some success in eventing up to B level.
The Mens Open turned into a procession with Dandan ridden by Tristan Durrell for owner Hugh Wilson and trainer Francesca Moller beating the mare Country Legend ridden by Tom Bishop by a distance. Enterprisingly ridden by Tristan he stole a march on his rival by going clear after the twelfth fence and maintained a relentless gallop all the way to the line. Clearly enjoying the faster surface this was his second success at Larkhill this season after his win at the Avon Vale meeting in March.
Adrenalin Flight was another to secure a second course victory this season when winning the Novice Riders race when ridden by Matt Fielding. Trained locally to the course by Sally Rawlins at Figheldean for National Hunt trainer Seamus Mullins he had eight lengths to spare over main rival Benemeade ridden by Nathan Rahman. Clearly defying his thirteen years he has flourished under Sally’s care and enjoys the opportunity to have a more relaxed life including being turned out on a regular basis.
Nathan had previously secured his second career victory in the previous race when he partnered the mare Tangoed to a very easy victory in the Restricted race. The mare who had won her point to point debut for Francesca Nimmo before being sold to trainer Harry Whittington. However her runs under Rules were uninspiring and she was sold last year for £1000 to Robert Varnham. Nathan, who is a serving Corporal with the Royal Welsh Guards, is one of the few serving military riders who does participate in point to points.
The Open Maiden race was won by another mare, Starweld who beat her only rival Colin’s Hero by eight lengths. Owned, trained and bred by Patricia Shaw from her base at Looe in Cornwall she had travelled the mare to Larkhill seeking a faster surface and provided rider Paul John with his second victory of the season. Recalling his previous experience at Larkhill Paul said ‘I rode a horse called Diamond Monroe to win in my first season as a 16 year old beating Polly Gundry in 2008 for the late Richard Woollacott’ There have been ups and downs in Paul’s career including a spell as a Conditional but he is enjoying his return to point to point racing.
The second rider who rode his first career winner was Tom Doggrell, 18 aboard Trueflyingcolours in the Hunt race but he had no rivals and walked over to record his triumph. Tom who now works for Phillip Hobbs advised that he will be the main amateur rider at the leading Somerset stable for next season. Trueflyingcolours was winning the Hunt race for the second successive year for trainer Stuart Penny and Teona Hammond.
Bedrock Fred registered his fifth career victory at Larkhill when winning the Confined race under rider Sam Burton for owner El Tanner. Bred by El and trained by her partner David Weston throughout his career which began nearly ten years ago the gelding has won a total of seven point to points and always appreciated a faster surface. Now at the age of 13 the decision was made after the race to announce his retirement and he will continue to be a part of El and David’s stable and will lead the youngsters. One of his successes was for Danny Burton, the brother of Sam, in 2015 and he would have been in the saddle but for sustaining three cracked vertebrae in a fall he suffered a week ago. Danny suggested to his brother, who has just finished a spell at Tom Lacey’s stable, that he should ring up for the ride and then gave Sam clear instructions on how to ride the gelding which he carried out to the letter.
4 years ago Bedrock Fred was beaten in the Open race at this meeting by Hincheslea Moor and James Young’s gelding, another regular winner at Larkhill over the years, produced another strong performance to win the Charity Flat race which preceded the point to point races. Ridden by Helen Booth, 32, who has been an integral part of James’s Brockenhurst stable over the years enjoyed her first ride at Larkhill following a success in a scurry ride at the Isle of Wight. Now based in Shaftesbury and working for a veterinary practice she won the race very easily from two other former pointers Thunder On and Impact Area.
South & West Wilts Hunt Preview
The final meeting to be held at Larkhill this season, the South and West Wilts Hunt, takes place on Easter Saturday and with the forecast looking good for the holiday weekend there should be every opportunity to enjoy an afternoon on Salisbury Plain with the family and a picnic. In addition to the seven point to point races there will be a charity flat race at 1.15pm and it is hoped that many racegoers will support the riders who are raising funds for local good causes. There will be a wide variety of trade stands, some delicious local food to enjoy and a bar as well as bookmakers.
The two feature races are firstly the Ashton Farms Limited Ladies Open for which the prolific Coco Live looks to continue his progress and seeks his fifth victory of the season. Beaten in a Hunter Chase at Taunton this race looks easier than the Mens Open and he ought to be too good for his potential rivals who may be headed by the consistent Carraig Dubh who has been placed three times already this season and is likely to be ridden by Brooke Gardener-Wollen.
The Mens Open sponsored by Lycetts has attracted 12 entries including Coco Live and Carraig Dubh but if those take up their entries in other races then the progressive Country Legend might be the one to support. Already the winner of three races this season including an emphatic victory at Badbury Rings this will be her first venture into Open company so she may find this more challenging. Her former stablemate Theatre Evening won the Mixed Open at the Avon Vale meeting and Dandan and Doctor’s Differ also were winners at that meeting and those three may give the mare the most to do. Gingili has been in good form this season and is another to come into the reckoning.
The meeting begins with the Woolley and Wallis Confined race for which Country Legend holds an entry and this might be an easier option for the mare. Others to consider are Milberry already the winner of two races this season, Adrenalin Flight who has a good record around Larkhill and goes well for Matthew Fielding and the veteran Bedrock Fred who enjoys his racing around Larkhill.
The Restricted race sponsored by Milton Indoor Storage Services over the shorter trip of two and a half miles may give Novo Dawn the opportunity to find another race. The winner of a Maiden in Ireland he was placed in a better race at Upcott Cross last year and a repeat of that form might be good enough. Brereton won at Larkhill last May and will have his supporters. Brass in Pocket is another with chances for Charlie Dando whereas Tangoed has only had one race this season when unseating her rider.
The Novice Riders race also holds entries for Adrenalin Flight and Carraig Dubh and both would have chances in this race. Blue Benny won at the course last season and was staying on at Badbury Rings when missing a marker four fences from home and might be a sporting bet for the race. However if Benemeade travels from Wales he is likely to be too good for his rivals.
The Ford Fuel Open Maiden race may give Long Mile Road the opportunity to break his maiden status. Already placed a couple of times this season his experience may make the difference. Tik Tak was backed and ran a respectable race at Badbury Rings and will come on for that outing. Its Fine Wine is an interesting recruit to pointing have raced under rules for Paul and Clare Rooney and is now in the ownership of Graeme McPherson.
The meeting concludes with the Hunt Race where Trueflyingcolours is seeking a repeat of his victory in this race in 2018. Now a veteran he ran well behind Country Legend at Badbury Rings and a repeat of that form may be good enough. Arcal Fifty was just beaten by Country Legend at Milborne St Andrew and he could thwart Trueflyingcolours attempt to repeat his victory. Just Skittles won a race at Edgcote but it was only a Maiden so might have to settle for third place in this race.
Larkhill Racecourse is to be found 5m NW of Amesbury, Nr A303, A345 and A360 – Postcode SP4 8QT. . First race 2.00pm. Charity race 1.15pm. Entry Costs £10 per person, children under 16 go free.
Avon Vale preview
Larkhill hosts its sixth meeting of the season when the Avon Vale hold their point to point. It will be another opportunity for all of the family to enjoy an afternoon’s racing as well as participating in a family dog show starting at 12.30 plus the usual trade stands, bar, bookmakers and the Taste Team who will be offering spectators a range of local produce to sample and purchase. There will be early bird admission at £8 until 6pm on Friday evening at www.avonvaleraces.com
The feature race, the Mixed Open race, has attracted a strong entry of ten horses with Green Winter a winner at the last meeting being one of the main fancies. Now trained by James Ridley but still ridden by Zac Baker he should come on for his seasonal debut and might be too good for his rivals. Coco Live has improved rapidly this season and already has won three times at Larkhill this season and is going for a five timer having also won at Badbury Rings. The Last But One has been very consistent this season for Tom Malone but also holds an entry at Cotley which may be easier. William Money was a prolific winner last season but has yet to get his head in front this season. If travelling from Wales he would certainly come into the reckoning. High Hatton would an alternative ride for Jack Tudor but he has not run this season whereas Theatre Evening gave owner Charlotte Brown a tremendous ride in his Hunt race last week and will enjoy the faster going.
The other principal race is the second running of the James McNeile Celebration Chase for Veteran and Novice riders, underwritten this year by national sponsor Pertemps Network. An entry of fourteen horses has been received for this including The Last But One, Theatre Evening and William Money all entered in the Mixed Open. Johnny Farrelly has entered both Gingili and Victory Mill with the former having easily won a similar race at Ston Easton last weekend. Adrenalin Flight enjoys his racing at Larkhill and is one to consider. However Vivaldi Collonges has won two of these races already this season for his young rider and may be able to secure a hat trick for trainer James Owen. Top Chief is another interesting potential runner – a prolific point to point winner he was trained during last summer by Colin Tizzard and secured two wins at Newton Abbot and he might surprise some of his more fancied rivals.
The meeting begins with a Confined Hunts race where the promising Raging Fire holds an entry. The winner of a Maiden at Chipley Park he was disappointing at Charlton Horethorne but may find the quicker surface at Larkhill more to his liking. He is inexperienced compared to his rivals so others to consider are Doctor’s Differ who has just had one run this season in January and will certainly like the better going. Bedrock Fred likes it as firm as possible whereas Victory Mill might be declared for this race rather than the Novice riders race and might be a sporting choice.
The Conditions race for ten year olds and over holds entries for Adrenalin Flight, Bedrock Fred and High Hatton already mentioned. Ballycahane ran well when chasing home Coco Live at the last meeting and a repeat of that form might be good enough. Dandan likes a faster surface and could be another one to consider in this open looking race.
The remainder of the meeting is made up with two Maiden races the first for 4, 5 and 6 year olds. Fran Nimmo has two entries in this race namely Breaking the Ice and Third Time Lucki who have both finished runner up on their debuts. Her chosen representative would be the selection. The other Maiden also contains two entries from Fran Nimmo’s stable in the form of debutants Imperial Hill and Might Flight and again her chosen runner may be the one to follow. Mahler Style has yet to run this season for new trainer Alan Walter but she has shown bits and pieces of form in Ireland in particular when finishing third to Swift Native in a Mares Maiden at Largy and if either of the debutants fail to shine she may pick up the pieces.
Larkhill Racecourse is to be found 5m NW of Amesbury, Nr A303, A345 and A360 – Postcode SP4 8QT. . First race 1.00pm. Entry Costs £10 per person, children go free
There will be early bird admission at £8 until 6pm on Friday evening at www.avonvaleraces.com
New Forest preview
Larkhill hosts its fifth meeting of the season when the New Forest hold their meeting on Sunday. In addition to the 6 point to point races there will be a charity flat race at 11.00, the rearranged King’s Troop race at 11.45 and after the point to point races there will be two pony races so it will be a very busy day at the Wiltshire course. The current going is good with rain forecast over the next few days so it is anticipated that there will not be any change to the predicted going. There will be a good selection of trade stands as well as bar and bookmakers so it should be an excellent day out for all of the family.
The highlight of the meeting is the Timico sponsored Mixed Open race for which an entry of 11 horses has been received. It looks an wide open contest with the principals being the consistent Green Winter who would be making his seasonal debut, Tom Barton the winner at the Hursley Hambledon meeting in December, the progressive Coco Live who has won his last three races, Woodfleet who showed a return to form when finishing second at Charing and The Well Road who won three races last season. Coco Live is the selection to continue his progress.
The Horse Health Intermediate race opens the meeting with the Teresa Clark trained Pancrace looking the likely favourite. Already a winner at Barbury Castle he is in good form having been placed in his previous outings. His main opponents are likely to be Tree Sparrow who ought to come on for his run at rain soaked Bishops Court and Bricks and Beams who ran fourth in the same race at the Devon course and Black Jewel trained by Francesca Nimmo who has already won two races this season. Pancrace ought to be able to secure another win for Teresa Clark’s stable.
The New Forest Inn sponsor the Open Maiden race for which the principals are likely to be Keep it Simple who showed improved form when finishing second at Monmouth, Milberry who was a close third at the last meeting at Larkhill and Montarlot who was third behind Mankala again at the last meeting. Mankala has franked the form when winning his Restricted at Didmarton so the Harriet Brown trained seven year old gelding looks the answer to this contest.
The Mares Maiden race sponsored by Earlcote and the Jockey Club may see the jumping debut of Rosie Present already a winner of a Bumper at Great Trethew for Ed Walker and her appearance should be watched with interest. Bluebell Sally was second at Monmouth and is now owned by Tim Underwood and may be the principal danger to Rosie Present. Hot Cross Bun a half- sister to the prolific John Daniell trained by Mary Tory is another to consider.
The Restricted race sponsored by Race to the Pitt Stop may be at the mercy of the Tim Underwood owned Streets of London already the winner of a maiden at Barbury Castle and looks on an upward curve. Rien du Tout won at Cothelstone last season and finished fifth in a much more competitive race at Chipley Park and looks a danger. Lawsons Thorns should come on for his run at Badbury Rings and Oscar Mor the winner of a Maiden in Ireland in 2016 should be straighter after his debut at Buckfastleigh last month for trainer Jade Barber.
The meeting concludes with the GPG Solicitors sponsored Conditions race has received 12 entries including Coco Live who would be a likely favourite for this race if bypassing the Mixed Open race. Crown Theatre was a close second for Elizabeth Knight at the last meeting, Adrenalin Flight has defied his age this season and this is a much easier race than the one he last ran in at Badbury Rings, Golden Crisp was well beaten at Barbury Castle but ought to come on for that run and Thereyarsee who was running a good race at the December meeting when his saddle slipped and he was pulled up. Thereyarsee has a good record at Larkhill and may provide the promising Liam Harrison with another winner.
Larkhill Racecourse is to be found 5m NW of Amesbury, Nr A303, A345 and A360 – Postcode SP4 8QT. . First race 12.30 with charity race at 11.00am and King’s Troop race at 11.45. Entry Costs £10 per person, children go free
Combined Services Review
A large crowd enjoyed a pleasant dry afternoon at Larkhill when the Combined Services held their point to point. With the decision made to offer free admission this had some impact on the crowd but there were certainly many in attendance who were enjoying their first point to point. Despite concerns following the recent equine flu outbreak and the need for extra vaccinations before horses could run the six races still attracted 34 horses with some competitive racing. The highlights were a comprehensive win for Monsieur Gibraltar in the Coronation Gold Cup, a first win for rider Andy Llewellyn and a striking performance of Tea Clipper in the Restricted race.
Monsieur Gibraltar was much too good for his two rivals in the prestigious Coronation Gold Cup when again ridden by Harriet Tucker thus securing Harriet’s first ever success in a Mixed Open race. . Trained by Rose Loxton at Bruton the gelding was notching her first success in the Coronation Gold Cup with only her second ever runner. Now much recovered after her accident she did acknowledge the part her husband Sam has played in getting the gelding back into the rich vein of form he is currently enjoying as he rides him at home in all his work. The next likely outing may be in a Hunter Chase.
The other Wessex trained winner on the card was Robin De Boss, who ridden for the first time by George Hiscock, won the Conditions Race. Trained by Wincanton Racecourse Chairman Jo Hepburn he returned to the form which led to him winning four races last season and outstayed principal rival The Flying Doc by three lengths. Normally ridden by Jo’s son Jamie he is recovering from damage to his ligaments and hopes that he might be able to resume the partnership later in the season. George proved a very able deputy despite having never sat on the horse before.
Andy Llewellyn will remember this meeting fondly as he secured his first riding success on only his second ride in the Novice Riders race aboard Network Rouge. Assistant to National Hunt trainer Oliver Sherwood Andy, 35, has come late to race riding and when asked about this he recalled lodging with former champion conditional jockey William Kennedy and decided he did not want to go through with the rigours of becoming a jockey and instead concentrate on training. However he decided this season to have a try at race riding and the former Kim Bailey gelding bought by Bart Ryan-Beswick last November at Ascot has proved to be an ideal schoolmaster.for him and he timed his challenge to perfection by catching Crown Theatre ridden by Elizabeth Knight on the run in.
Tea Clipper owned by Tom Lacey and trained by his wife Sophie was an impressive winner of the Restricted race. Only a four year old he was making his racecourse debut in the race as he was not eligible for either of the Maiden races on the card but defied the lack of experience to beat the game mare Country Legend ridden by Tom Bishop by five lengths. Bought by Tom at the Derby sales last year for 52K Euros he is related to a number of winners including the prolific Rathlin Rose and Rugged Jack and looks a natural for the transfer to National Hunt racing in the near future.
The Maiden race over 2miles 4 furlongs looked to be at the mercy of Ballyjim trained by Jade Barber and ridden by Martin McIntyre but with the winning post in sight he hung to the left and allowed Draft Pick ridden by Zac Baker to get up and win by a length and a half. The winner owned by Nick Jones and trained at Kinnersley by James Ridley had shown good form last season when trained by Tom Weston and in particular when runner up to Toby Maguire at Charlton Horethorne. Nick who is well known for the exploits of Real Milan who is now enjoying his retirement and the father of Jack who is assistant trainer to David Simcocks.
The concluding race, the Open Maiden race, was won in decisive fashion by Mankala owned and ridden by Nick Phillips and trained by Elizabeth’Dibby’Brown. An unlucky loser at the course at the Larkhill Racing Club meeting when unseating Nick at the second last he made no mistakes this time when beating Fleur Du Pommier and Montarlot who both ran promising races.. Mankala a lightly raced 9 year old who has suffered several injuries in his life is on permanent loan to Nick from Paul and Clare Rooney and if Dibby can keep him sound there should be more victories for him.
Combined Services Preview
The Coronation Gold Cup is the highlight of the Combined Services meeting to be held at Larkhill this coming Sunday subject to authority being given by the BHA for horse racing to recommence after the outbreak of equine flu last week. One of the Classic point to point races it boasts a total prize money of £2000 with £1000 to the winner making it one of the most valuable point to point races to be held this season. After several days of rain at the Wiltshire course the going has eased and is currently described as good. 114 entries have been received for the 6 scheduled races which are preceded by the running of King’s Troop race which is due off at 12.00. With 30 trade stands booked with lots of food and fresh coffee available all bodes well for a good day’s racing.
The Coronation Gold Cup which is now a Mixed Open race has attracted a high class entry of 18 horses with trainer Rose Loxton holding a strong hand with both Caid Du Berlais and Monsieur Gibraltar the highest rated horses. Caid du Berlais also holds an entry for a Hunter Chase at Fakenham on Friday and if he is directed to that race then Monsieur Gibraltar might continue his tremendous record at Larkhill. Already with two wins to his name this season he is in fine form and is forming a good partnership with Harriet Tucker. Potential opponents may be last year’s winner Brackloon High but he disappointed on his seasonal debut, Cousin Pete who was third in last season’s Foxhunters but has not found his form yet and Abricot De l’Oasis the runner up to Stellar Notion in a strong Men’s Open in January. Navanman brings some excellent form from his outings this season and he may be the one to give Monsieur Gibraltar the most to do in a fascinating race.
The opening race, the Conditions for Novice Riders, may give Matthew Fielding another victory for his boss Seamus Mullins who owns Adrenalin Flight trained by Sally Rawlins. The winner of the Hunt race at the last meeting the 13 year old gelding is in fine form and enjoys his racing at Larkhill. Potential opponents amongst the 23 entries include another previous winner at Larkhill Storm Lantern to be ridden by Jennifer Harbison, Thereyarsee, another with a good record at Larkhill and likely to be ridden by Liam Harrison, Network Rouge who was a good second at Cocklebarrow and Chill Factor who ought to improve following his return to racing at Chipley Park after nearly two years off.
The Restricted race for which 19 horses have been entered may see Raging Fire attempt to step up from his initial success in a Maiden at Chipley Park. Part of the riding treble that day for Will Biddick the 6 year old gelding is trained by Mike Felton for his mother Phyllis and Teresa Dufosee and looks a very promising sort. Country Legend won her Maiden at the last Larkhill meeting but this looks a stronger race. Dr Rhythm won well at Holnicote when trained by Tom Malone but was a disappointment when he raced for Paul Nicholls and it will be interesting to see whether Keith Cumings can rekindle his enthusiasm. Desert Retreat and Inmyday are both trained by Alan Hill and his selection comes into consideration. Sophie Lacey adds to the interest in this race with her four year old Stowaway gelding Tea Clipper who would be making his racecourse debut in this race.
The Conditions Race could see another appearance of Blackwater Bramble at Larkhill. Already the winner of two races this season at Larkhill for rider John Smith-Maxwell and trained by his sister Alex Dunn he could complete the course hat trick in this race. Coco Live has already two victories to his name this season but this is tougher. Fly West and One Big Love could be the main dangers to Blackwater Bramble- Fly West will be making his seasonal debut and may need the race whereas One Big Love unseated Liam Harrison at Chipley last month. Robin de Boss was a revelation last season and should be fitter after his seasonal debut at Chaddesley Corbett.
The Maiden Conditions race sponsored by Caterpillar Defense which is open to horses who have run in at least four point to point races may see Ballyjim finally get his head in front. Trained by Jade Barber and owned by Bill Dupont he was a narrow second in January and that form may be good enough. Sliver Louna looked the winner in another incident packed Maiden until being caught on the line by Hello Jazz. Draft Pick was placed in two Maidens last season and is now in the care of James Ridley. Order in Court was second in three races last season whereas Mahler Style now in the care of Alan Walter has been placed in Maidens in both Ireland and England.
The concluding race, the Open Maiden, sponsored by Leonardo also holds an entry for Ballyjim but if he opts for the previous race then those for the short list should include Airlander, runner up at Larkhill in December, Mankala who looked very unlucky when unseating Nick Phillips at the second last when well clear last month, Twist on Ginge who was travelling well until stumbling and unseating his rider Jamie Nield at Chipley Park and Schiap Hill placed in three Bumpers to date and will be making his fencing debut. Mankala is the choice to make amends for his unseat last time.
FROM THE POINT-TO-POINT AUTHORITY
Press Release February 2019
For immediate publication
Point-to-pointing set to resume on Saturday 16 FebruaryPoint to Pointing will go ahead this weekend according to present BHA requirements.
However, due to the extra requirements and conditions, individual fixtures will make a decision on whether to run. We hope to finalise those details by tomorrow morning (Wednesday).
The New BHA Requirements are:
- Vaccination. BHA has ordered that no entries or declarations will be accepted from horses that have not been vaccinated in the previous six months. This requirement will be in place until further notice. Please note that the normal stipulation that the vaccination must not have been given on the day of racing or any of the six days prior to the day of the race as according to Regulation 36 (ii), still applies.
Declaration of Health. BHA has ordered that on arrival at the racecourse, the responsible person (To be confirmed but probably Owner, Keeper or Authorised to Act) must provide the following for all equines on board before the ramp can be lowered:
- The horse’s passport with proof of vaccination and date
- Confirmation that they have taken the horse’s temperature that morning and provision of that temperature
- A Health Declaration form to be signed there and then in front of members of Fixture (The Form will be made available to all participants)
- This above procedure is the Owner’s responsibility. He does not require a vet to carry out the health checks before making the Declaration. The Fixture must have a foolproof system in place to ensure that this is enforced rigorously. NB it is recognised that all courses are slightly different in layout and will take different approaches accordingly. This will apply to all equines including companion ponies, pony racing and horse catchers, and any other activity programmed. Fixtures running events/races which are not under BHA auspices (Charity races etc) must still comply with the above. Penalties for failure to comply are currently under discussion, although Regulation 38 already lays down the fines for failure to provide accurate Vaccination requirements. There will be further provisions and clarifications as the week goes on, but it is vital that all comply with the above if we are to continue pointing. Vigilance and Responsibility must be everyone’s watchword. This will be an ongoing requirement for the foreseeable future. The Health Declaration Form can be downloaded here The latest update from the British Horseracing Authority (BHA) can be found here ***Ends*** For more information contact: Peter Wright, CEO, Point-to-Point Authority (PPA) 01793 781990 [email protected]
EQUINE FLU OUTBREAK - NEWS FROM BHA
- Decision to be made on Monday 11 February as to whether racing can resume on Wednesday 13 February
- Decision to cancel racing is based on further scientific advice and discussions with participants
The British Horseracing Authority (BHA) has this afternoon taken the decision that racing will not resume in Britain until Wednesday 13 February at the earliest, including fixtures programmed by the Point-to-Point Authority.
The BHA’s veterinary team has today been in contact with more than 50 trainers and veterinarians to allow it to make an informed assessment of the risk of equine influenza spreading. Whilst no further positive tests have been received, at least three more days are required before it will be possible to make a decision about whether it is safe to resume racing.
The disease can take up to three days before symptoms are visible, meaning it will take until Sunday at the earliest before the BHA can gather all the information required. This approach will allow samples to be collected and assessed by the Animal Health Trust in order that a fully informed decision can be made on Monday. This may then allow declarations to take place on Tuesday in time for racing on Wednesday, with 24 hour declarations for all fixtures on this day, should racing be able to resume. Declarations for Thursday would revert to the usual procedures.
We are grateful to trainers and veterinarians for the rapid flow of information and feedback we have received today. Because of this, we have been able to make an informed decision earlier than we expected and before we have any test results back from horses from the affected yards that travelled to the three meetings.
Trainers support a precautionary approach and we thank them for the collaborative manner in which they have worked with us to address this unfolding situation.
This precautionary approach is intended to ensure we put the health of the horse population and control of the virus first, and avoid any unnecessary risk that might come from returning to racing too quickly. We appreciate the impact that this may have on the sport commercially, but disease control in order to mitigate the risk of further disruption to the sport – and safeguard the health and welfare of our horses – must be a priority.
A plan will be constructed for the rescheduling of key races – and those which may provide important opportunities for horses to run – which are lost during this period,
Separately, as a precaution, all of the trainers who had runners at the fixtures at Wolverhampton, Ludlow and Ayr this week have been informed that their yards have been placed under a temporary hold which means that they will not be able to make any declarations until their horses have been tested and cleared.
Further information and guidance
It remains the case that anyone visiting a racing yard should exercise appropriate caution and check with a trainer before visiting, and trainers are advised to limit where possible the movement of people to and from their yard, and put in place appropriate biosecurity measures. There is a Code of Practice for dealing with infectious diseases on the website of the National Trainers Federation.
All British thoroughbreds are vaccinated against equine influenza however cases have been seen in vaccinated horses. The disease may be serious in unvaccinated horses, although symptoms in vaccinated horses are usually mild and transient. Symptoms may include a raised temperature, a cough and nasal discharge. It is highly contagious. Humans are not at risk from the virus, though can spread the virus on clothes and equipment.
This is a wider horse health issue which is not confined to horseracing. Unlike thoroughbreds in Britain, it is not compulsory for the wider horse population to be vaccinated against equine flu. Whilst the BHA is not specifically responsible for non-racehorses, the general advice to owners would be to contact your vet if you have concerns.
LARKHILL SPECIALIST AWARDS 2019
AFTER TWO MEETINGS
Southfield Theatre (IRE) — 15 points
Hello Jazz, Monsieur Gibraltar (FR), Stellar Notion (IRE), Tom Barton — 10 points
Blackwater Bramble (IRE), Coco Live (FR), Danilo D'Airy (FR), Drakes Well (IRE), Drumlynn (IRE), Marcle Ridge (IRE), Miss Seagreen, Storm Lantern — 7 points
Sam Jukes — 19 points
Sally Alner, Sara Bradstock — 15 points
Angela Davis, Thomas Frost, Rose Loxton — 10 points
John Benfield, Alexandra Dunn, Luke Harvey, Fred Hutsby, Joan Johnston, Harriet Waight — 7 points
Jack Andrews, Lucy Bradstock — 15 points
Sam Jukes — 14 points
Darren Edwards — 12 points
Tommie O'Brien — 11 points
Matthew Fielding, Liam Harrison, Harriet Tucker, Ryan Withey – 10 points
Zac Baker, Sam Lee, Jack Savage, John Smith-Maxwell — 7 points
Angela Davis — 10 points
John Benfield, Luke Harvey, Harriet Waight — 7 points
Jane Bailey, Jonathan Farrelly, James Henderson — 5 points
Sarah McQueen, Francesca Nimmo, Hannah Taylor, Julie Wadland, Paul Williams — 3 points
Jennifer Harbison — 7 points
James Jeavons — 3 points
Best Novice Horse*
Bridge Of Cally (IRE), Drakes Well (IRE), Hello Jazz — 10 points
Danilo D'Airy (FR), Miss Seagreen — 7 points
Double Miss — 6 points
Airlander, Ballyjim (IRE), Courtandbould (IRE), Mankala (IRE), Silver Louna (FR) — 5 points
* for the purposes of this Award a Novice Horse is a maiden that runs in any race at Larkhill in the current season
Such horses can earn points from that race and from all their subsequent races (on any course – and including hunter chases)
How the Points are calculated
In all Races at Larkhill
10 points for an Open race winner
7 points for all other winners
5 points for 2nd place
3 points for 3rd place
In addition in the Best Novice Horse Award only
Points can also be scored in similar P-t-P races on other courses, and
also in hunter chases as follows:
12 points for 1st, 6 points for 2nd and 4 points for 3rd
- In the case of a dead-heat for a scoring position, the points for that position will be added to those of the next and divided
- · The scoring in all Awards ends when the final race of the season has been run at Larkhill
Royal Artillery review
It was definitely Ladies day at the Royal Artillery meeting last Saturday with five of the six races being won by Lady Trainers. The day remained virtually dry throughout and a reasonable crowd watched six races which was preceded by the spectacle of a side-saddle dash over 7f which was won in emphatic fashion by Kelle King aboard the six year old thoroughbred mare Time to Exceed who was making her final racecourse appearance before going off to stud in Ireland. Monsieur Gibraltar was once again the star point-to-point performer when winning the Ladies Open for Harriet Tucker and there were local triumphs for Adrenalin Flight and Coco Live who are both trained very close to Larkhill.
Monsieur Gilbraltar ridden by Harriet Tucker continued his love affair with Larkhill when outclassing his six rivals in the Ladies Open race and although the gallant grey Dicky Bob tried to stay with him Rose Loxton’s charge still had eight lengths in hand at the winning post. Rose, who is hoping to have her cast on her leg removed next week, indicated that he will probably stay point-to-pointing for a while but a Hunter Chase campaign will be considered later in the season. The key to him seems to be the better going and in current form it will take a good horse to beat him. Harriet was beaming on returning to the winner’s enclosure saying that ‘he really flew over the fences and gave me a great feel’
The Mens Open was the sole race not won by a female trainer and the two runner race was robbed of its interest when Liam Harrison was unseated off Tom Barton at the fourth fence. This left Stellar Notion to jump round on his own to record a bloodless victory for Jack Andrews. Trained by Tom Frost in Solihull for Stephen Dunn he is now qualified for both the Cheltenham and Aintree Foxhunters and is more likely to go for the former at this stage.
The Hunt race was won by Adrenalin Flight owned by Seamus Mullins and trained by local trainer Sally Rawlins who also saddled the third home Sidbury Hill. The thirteen year old gelding was giving jockey Matthew Fielding, 21, his second point to point victory and followed his first winner under Rules for his boss Seamus Mullins on another thirteen year old Kastani Beach at Lingfield earlier this month. Seamus was full of praise for Matthew adding that he will going to Doncaster next month to hopefully obtain his Category B Licence so that he can ride some of the lighter weights for the stable. Adrenalin Flight has flourished since being in the care of Sally who only has the two horses to train and enjoys the relaxed atmosphere including regularly rolling in the mud.
The Open Maiden race was a comfortable success for the Frances Bishop owned and trained Country Legend. Taking up the lead from the second last from principal rivals Courtandbould and Earth Leader the mare quickly drew clear to record a ten length win. Ridden by former champion jockey Will Biddick he had been booked by usual pilot Tom Bishop who remained in London as his wife was expecting their second child imminently. Previously trained for the last two seasons by Mappowder trainer Harriet Brown James Bishop speaking for both himself and his wife was quick to pay tribute to Harriet ‘ for all her hard work with the mare and for keeping a lid on her and not allowing them to rush her until she was really ready’. Frances added that ‘we made the decision to keep her at home (near Wincanton Racecourse) this season and do the work ourselves but I was expecting her to blow up as I did not know how fit she really was’ Bought from trainer/breeder Bill Turner the mare has fallen in love with their three polo pony mares and demands to always be in sight of them which does cause some problems when trying to take her out on exercise!
The Conditions race had a dramatic start with favourite Hawkhurst falling at the first and in the process breaking the collarbone of champion lady jockey Gina Andrews. The race then developed into a duel between Blackwater Bramble ridden by John Smith-Maxwell and Indian Chance ridden by Jack Andrews. The former showing the benefit of his fitness stayed on strongly to record his third straight victory of the season by six lengths. Trained at West Buckland by John’s sister Alex Dunn he continues to be on the upgrade. Recalling the day of his purchase at Ascot in June last year Alex said ‘I had not looked at him or his form prior to his arrival in the ring but he is by King’s Theatre and looked a fine stamp of a horse so I bought him on spec’ He is certainly giving both her mother Katherine and sister Ros a lot of fun with her random purchase from Jade Barber’s stable.
The final race, the Intermediate, gave another local trainer Harriet Waight a second victory for the season when Coco Live made all the running under Jack Savage to record a very easy win from the only other finisher Hello Jazz. A previous winner at Larkhill at the last meeting he is not the most straight forward and is taken to the start before his rivals but Jack is forging a good partnership with him and never saw either of his rivals in this race. Bought by joint owner Stan Rawlins from Kayley Woollacott at the end of last season the comment made by Harriet on his arrival in her yard of ‘ What did you buy that bloody thing for?’ is now a joke between them and he is progressing well under her care and individual attention.
Royal Artillery Preview
The next meeting to take place at Larkhill Racecourse, the Royal Artillery Hunt, is due this coming Saturday 26 January. The six scheduled races has attracted a total of 69 entries and should ensure that there will be some competitive racing for racegoers to enjoy. The current going is good with some showers forecast this week. Prior to the point to point racing there will be a novel side-saddle race which will be a spectacle most of us have never seen before and is intended to raise valuable funds for the local charity, the Royal Artillery Charitable Fund. This race is scheduled to start at 11.30 so it is hoped that many racegoers will make the effort to be early to support the intrepid riders.
Monsieur Gibraltar is the stand out horse from the entry of twelve horses in the Ladies Open race. The leading horse at Larkhill last season he returned to the Wiltshire track earlier this month and was an impressive winner of the Ladies race for Harriet Tucker. His love affair of Larkhill looks likely to continue but if the popular grey Dicky Bob is declared to run against him he may have a fight on his hands. Dicky Bob has won thirteen races to date in his career but has yet to race this season and might go to Chipley Park instead. Bistouri D’Honore ran well against Monsieur Gibraltar in his last race and may finish closer. Storm Lantern won the Novice Riders race for Jennifer Harbison at the last meeting but this looks much tougher. Gina Andrews has the choice of Man of Steel for keeper Alan Hill and Generous Ransom for keeper David Phelan, the latter who has yet to run this season.
Generous Ransom is also one of a very select entry for the Mens Open race but he looks to be potentially up against three very strong rivals. Stellar Notion was a good winner of a competitive Mens Open race at the last meeting for new keeper Tom Frost and he will be looking to notch another win. Tom Barton won at the first Larkhill meeting in December giving his novice rider Liam Harrison his first ever point to point victory. Bear’s Affair is now at the veteran stage of his career but still retains his ability as he won on his seasonal debut in November. Tactics will play its part but Stellar Notion may be too good for his rivals.
The Hunt Race has drawn an entry of seven and it would be fitting if the mare Tambura could make a winning point to point debut for keeper Paul Thompson. Owned by the late Godfrey Maundrell who was a strong supporter of this race the mare has won seven races under Rules but is yet to jump a fence. Her main opposition will come from the Sally Rawlins trained pair Adrenalin Flight and Sidbury Hill who should both come on from their seasonal debut races. Financial Climate won a Mens Open race at Alnwick and then finished fourth in a Hunter Chase at Taunton whilst Coco Live won the Restricted race at the last Larkhill meeting. Tambura is a tentative choice.
The biggest entry is the Open Maiden race and of the twenty horses entered this may be between Airlander, placed at Larkhill in December for owner Lady Cobham, Ballyjim a narrow runner up in January for owner Bill Dupont, Country Legend placed in several Maidens last season, Courtandbould placed at Clifton-on-Dunsmore for Francesca Nimmo and Niteinshiningarmour placed last season at Hexham. However two horses who were running good races at the last meeting until unseating their riders Earth Leader and Mankala may be the best option with the latter chosen to give Elizabeth ‘ Dibby’ Brown another winner.
The Conditions Race may see the return of Blackwater Bramble already a winner this season at Buckfastleigh and Larkhill and he should be on the short list. Hawkhurst has been in strong form also this season winning at Barbury Castle and Cottenham and could give Gina Andrews another winner. Sally Alner has entered the mare Flights who may chase home the two leading hopes.
The meeting concludes with the Intermediate for which Coco Live is also entered and may go for this race rather than the Hunt race. Mister Robbo finished second to Road to Rome, the winner of two Hunter Chases already this season, in an Intermediate at Clifton –on-Dunsmore and a repeat of that form would probably be good enough to take the spoils. Imogens Thunder and Ryves Rocky both won two races last season and are both promising sorts who should be followed this season. With the benefit of race fitness Mister Robbo is the selection.
Larkhill Racecourse is to be found 5m NW of Amesbury, Nr A303, A345 and A360 – Postcode SP4 8QT. . First race 12.30pm Entry Costs £10 per person, children go free
Larkhill Racing Club review
A very competitive day’s racing was the feature of Sunday’s meeting of the Larkhill Racing Club where 89 horses took part in the seven races held. On going described by the riders as good the times were on the quick side with both Open Races breaking the six minute mark. The highlights of the meeting was an impressive return to pointing by Monsieur Gibraltar ridden by Harriet Tucker on her first ride after surgery, Stellar Notion’s victory in a high standard Mens Open and a double for owner Clive Bennett and his trainer/jockey Sam Jukes.
The Skinner’s Pet Foods Ladies Open race was a high quality race and after Sonneofpresenting had run out in the lead at the seventh fence the race developed into a battle between Southfield Theatre ridden by Lily Bradstock and Monsieur Gibraltar. The latter who was the leading horse at Larkhill last season showed an impressive turn of foot to draw clear on the run in and won by eight lengths. Trained by Rose Loxton who is still recovering from a nasty accident which has left her on crutches he only came back into work on 1 October after an unsuccessful spell with Paul Nicholls in the summer. Owned partly by point to point enthusiast John Gane he is likely to remain in points and will give Harriet Tucker more confidence as she returns to race riding.
Stellar Notion was making his point to point debut in the Mens Open race for new trainer Tom Frost and he duelled all the way with rival Abricot de L’Oasis ridden by Freddie Henderson. Staying on well for rider Jack Andrews he had a length and a half to spare at the winning post with favourite Shotavodka ridden by Tommie O’Brien another four lengths back. Previously owned by Roger Brookhouse and trained by Tom George he was bought at the sales last August for new owner Stephen Dunn from Solihull. Tom who celebrated his 25 birthday last Friday is the son of trainer Kevin Frost and this was his first ever runner as a trainer. Based at a yard near Solihull Tom explained that although his background is flat racing he prefers the jumping game and his principal owner has provided some useful ammunition to start his career. So far as the plans for Stellar Notion are concerned he might have another point to point race or be considered for a Hunter Chase at Kelso where he has already won a chase.
Marcle Ridge made virtually all of the running to win the Conditions Race for owner Clive Bennett and his trainer/jockey Sam Jukes. Despite being challenged by both Portrait King and Knockaderry Flyer he stayed on very gamely on the run to record a victory by a length. Bred by Clive out of a mare called Labarynth who won for him when ridden by Polly Gundry he is named after a ridge which Clive said ‘I can see out of my kitchen window’. A promising seven year gelding by Presenting Clive added that after that win he might be under pressure from his trainer to run in a Hunter Chase next
Clive’s first ever home bred double was completed when his Miss Seagreen got up to deny Ballyjim in the First Division of the Maiden race. Again ridden by Sam Jukes he bided his time on the Black Sam Bellamy mare only taking up the lead in the final strides. The promising Hon the DJ trained by Fran Nimmo and ridden by Tommie O’Brien was only a length and a half back in third and this is one to look out for on his next race.
The Second Division of the Maiden was a very dramatic event with 15 horses starting the race but only four finishing. The race appeared to be between Earth Leader ridden by Bryan Carver and Mankala ridden by Nick Phillips and when Earth Leader blundered and unseated his rider at the third last fence it seemed the race was at Mankala’s mercy. However he unseated his rider at the next fence leaving Silver Louna ridden by Will Biddick in the lead but as her stride shortened after the last Ryan Withey urged his mount Hello Jazz to the front to provide an unlikely outcome to the race. Owned by George Davis and trained by his wife Angela from South Cadbury this was a welcome victory for them as they had not had a winner for nearly three years. George explained that the mare had been bought following a chance meeting in a shop with her breeder Ian Dudgeon and although she can be difficult at the start they always thought there was a race in her. Bred out a mare called Just Jasmine who was a prolific winner for trainer Kevin Bishop and excelled in two mile chases when mostly ridden by Rodi Greene.
A very open looking Restricted Race contested by 16 horses was won by Coco Live owned by Harriet Waight and Stan Rawlins and ridden by Jack Savage. Bought by Stan just before the end of last season from Kayley Woollacott having run unsuccessfully for local trainer Seamus Mullins he is trained within sight of the course at Larkhill by Harriet. Describing her charge as not easy he was loaded onto the lorry at the last minute and arrived at the course with the minimum of time left and then he was mounted outside the paddock by his rider. Stan who described himself as ‘stunned by the success’ explained about the booking of his jockey as a rather late choice on the recommendation of Zac Baker. Jack, 24, was previously a conditional rider for Jonjo O’Neill and latterly Nigel Twiston-Davies but due to lack of real progress as a conditional has reverted back to amateur status. This was his second ever point to point victory but has twelve wins under rules during his professional career.
The final race the Novice Riders race was win in a tight finish by Storm Lantern ridden by his owner Jennifer Harbison from Adrenalin Flight ridden by Matthew Fielding. The winner who was previously with Robert Waley- Cohen when recording two previous victories at the course clearly enjoys his visits to Larkhill as his best performance last season was finishing a neck second to Monsieur Gibraltar in a Ladies last January. Jennifer whose victory was her third career success is an equine vet in Buckingham and is anticipating being busy with the start of the foaling season. Trained by Joan Johnston who advised that this was her first ever winner at Larkhill.
Larkhill Racing Club preview
2019 begins with a bumper entry for the Larkhill Racing Club point –to-point meeting due to take place this coming Sunday 6 January at Larkhill Racecourse on Salisbury Plain. With 163 horses entered a decision has been made to divide the Maiden race and bring forward the time of the first race to 11.30am so there will be a minimum of seven races for racegoers to enjoy. The weather forecast looks promising so if you looking for something to do after the excesses of the Christmas period come racing and enjoy the spectacle of seeing horses and riders taking on the challenge of the 3 mile course and the 18 jumps in each race. There will be bookmakers in attendance, food and drink outlets and trade stands to view. The current going is described as good so the likelihood is that there will be large fields in each race.
The highlights of the meeting will be the two Open Races, the first being the Skinner’s Ladies Open for which 19 horses have been entered. This looks like being a high class race with a number of course regulars within the entries including the winner of the Coronation Gold Cup for the past two seasons Brackloon High who is likely to be ridden by Jennifer Harbison for the first time. Other potential rivals include Southfield Theatre who won at the previous Larkhill meeting in December for Lily Bradstock, the talented Monsieur Gibraltar for whom Harriet Tucker may make a return to race riding after surgery last season, Sonneofpresenting who upset the odds on Cousin Pete at Barbury Castle for Sarah Rippon, Woodfleet who won a Hunter Chase at Wincanton and is now trained by Kate Bandey and Bistouri D’Honore who has to put a disappointing run at Barbury Castle behind him. If the new partnership for Brackloon High gels then he may be a hard act to beat but keep an eye out for The Last But One now owned by Tom Malone who won four races for Paul Nicholls.
The Mens Open sponsored by Southern Counties Auctioneers has received the biggest entry of the day of 30 horses. Again another tremendous race is in prospect with Caid du Berlais the winner of a Punchestown Hunter Chase for Will Biddick and trainer Rose Loxton one of the standout entries. Cousin Pete will be looking to improve on his run at Barbury Castle and Shotavodka has already secured a victory at Barbury in November. Tom Barton won at the last Larkhill meeting for his Novice rider Liam Harrison but this looks a sterner test. The ex -Roger Brookhouse owned Stellar Notion is a potential fascinating recruit to point –to-pointing. The winner of 6 races under Rules is now trained by Thomas Frost having been bought at the sales last August. He should certainly be watched but if Caid Du Berlais is on song he should be too good for his rivals.
The meeting begins with the Woolley and Wallis Conditions race for which 24 horses have been entered. Portrait King won the Novice Riders race at Chaddesley Corbett last Sunday and if he turns out again his chance should be respected. However it is the younger horses that appeal more with Doctor’s Differ, Imogens Thunder and Teeton Kato as three to consider. Doctor’s Differ won two of his four starts last season and was second in the other races. Imogens Thunder was runner up to the impressive King Roland (who has already made a mark by winning a bumper very easily last month for new trainer Harry Fry) before winning his final two outings and Teeton Kato won two of his four starts last season. Flights and the progressive Marcle Ridge also come into the reckoning but if Imogens Thunder continues to progress he could be the one to support.
The Restricted race sponsored by Alec Jarrett Limited has a big entry of 27 horses. Haven’t Time has already won his Maiden this season but may find several too good for him. Arcal Fifty won well at Larkhill last season before suffering an injury but with the capable Tommie O’Brien likely to be on board he is one for the shortlist. In Arrears should come on for her English debut at Wadebridge and if coming up from Devon should be noted. Teresa Clark has both Pancrace and Port Navas entered and her chosen representative is another to consider. Lucy Felton may give Hunt Politics his seasonal debut and this should be watched. The winner of a Maiden at Duncombe Park he was bought out of Warren Greatrex’s stable last May having failed to make his mark in Bumpers and Hurdle races. The Jaffna Queen won her Maiden at Milborne St Andrew last season whereas Fateh won his Maiden at Trecoed in 2017 but has not been seen since. Another one returning from a long absence is Tedspeed who was second to the smart Fishy Story at Milborne St Andrew in February 2017. Rien du Tout won at Cothelstone at the end of last season and looks an improving sort. Shallamar won well at Barbury Castle and was tracking the leader when falling at the last Larkhill meeting. A chance is taken on him to make his fitness tell.
The Conditions Race for Novice Riders sponsored by Clarke Willmott may see another victory for the Sally Alner trained Apple’s Queen. The runner up to Tom Barton in the Men’s Open race at the last meeting this looks an easier option and may give the promising Liam Harrison another winner. Sally also has entered One Big Love and if the mare is her chosen representative then the hint should be taken. Likely rivals may include Storm Lantern who runs well at Larkhill for Jennifer Harbison, the veteran Sacre Toi, Shah of Persia who has already been placed third this season, Spanish Arch who gave rider Victoria Sollitt her debut victory at Lockinge last season and Chill Factor a prolific winner for National Hunt trainer Anthony Honeyball but not seen since February 2017. The last named is likely to be partnered by Lauren Reed who now works for Anthony and his wife Rachael.
The Maiden race, to be run in two divisions, has been sponsored by We Do Vans has received entries of 21 and 22 horses respectively. In Division One those with form include Bridge of Cally runner up in two Maidens already this season, Ballyjim placed several times last season, Call Claude placed twice last season for Philip Rowley but is now with Ed Walker, Montarlot placed in Irish Maiden races, Miss Seagreen runner up in her two starts last season and Lucarno Express again placed last season. Of particular interest is Raging Fire third in his only race in Ireland and a half-brother to Welsh Grand National winner Elegant Escape. He could make a winning debut for trainer Mike Felton.
Division Two may see the English debut of Silver Louna placed three times in Ireland in 2017 before being sold to Hannah Lewis in July of that year. She may be opposed by Artson already placed third this season, the ex- Paul and Clare Rooney horse Mankala now trained by Elizabeth Brown and Love Around trained by Sheila Crow. The Rose Loxton trained Earth Leader is an interesting recruit to pointing having run without success for Paul Nicholls and is owned by Foxhunter winner Roger Penny and he is a tentative selection in a difficult looking race.
Larkhill Racecourse is to be found 5m NW of Amesbury, Nr A303, A345 and A360 – Postcode SP4 8QT. . First race now 11.30am Entry Costs £10 per person, children go free
Hursley Hambledon Review
The opening meeting of the Larkhill season produced some excellent racing when 53 horses took place in the six races at the Hursley Hambledon meeting on Sunday. The going was good and the course was in splendid condition bearing in mind the dry summer that has been experienced. The highlights of the meeting were a first and second for trainer Sally Alner in the Mens Open race where Liam Harrison rode his first point to point winner and a victory for the classy Southfield Theatre in the Ladies Open ridden by his new pilot Lily Bradstock.
The Mens Open race sponsored by Moore Blatch produced a tremendous finish with Tom Barton holding off his fast finishing stablemate Apple’s Queen ridden by Bryan Carver with Sarazen Bridge and Nick Phillips a close third. The winner owned by the Four Dames Partnership headed by Anne Tory is well known for his triumphs round Badbury Rings but this proved his versatility in going right handed. It will be a day his 16 year old rider Liam Harrison will never forget on his first ever point to point ride and his initial comment was that ‘I have been taught a great deal by my partner’. Liam who works for trainer Neil Mulholland hails from Bath and has been riding at the Limpley Stoke stable since the age of 12 and recorded his first victory for his employer on Magical Thomas in a Hurdle race at Stratford in August, the day he received his GCSE results. Too young to drive at present he is grateful to his mother Heather for acting as his chauffeur and on the basis of this ride she may be visiting many more point-to-point courses this season.
Southfield Theatre recorded his first success for enthusiastic owner Angela Yeoman since winning a steeplechase at Exeter in February 2015 when scoring in the Ladies Open race ridden by Lily Bradstock. Having been trained by Paul Nicholls to win eight races he had rather lost his way and the move to new trainer Sara Bradstock and a different regime seems to have rekindled his enthusiasm. Angela who is a very well National Hunt owner was registering her first ever point to point winner and was delighted to see her King’s Theatre gelding enjoying himself in front for virtually all of the race. Explaining how she came to be training for Angela Sara said that she had met her at an eventing day at Nunney when Lily was riding her eventer and this had led to the horse joining her stable about 3 months ago. Sara added that evergreen Carruthers was now retired having been such a great servant to both her and her husband Mark.
Another familiar face from the National Hunt scene enjoyed his own triumph when Drumlynn was a very easy winner of the Restricted race for Luke Harvey. Already the winner of a Bumper when trained by Nicky Henderson he outclassed his six rivals and won by a distance under Darren Edwards. Explaining his bucking on the way to the start Luke did say that he had not been able to do much work with him due to his television commitments at Newbury and as such was very fresh in the preliminaries. Luke who could have kept his horse to National Hunt races said that ‘I love pointing and want to keep being involved in it ‘. Darren reported that his mount has ‘a real engine’ and could progress through the ranks.
Blackwater Bramble was another easy winner of the Conditions Race and supplemented his win from Buckfastleigh on the opening day of the season. Owned by Katherine Smith-Maxwell and her daughter Ros and ridden by her son John he is trained by Katherine’s other daughter Alexandra Dunn at West Buckland in Somerset. The King’s Theatre gelding was previously in the care of Jade Barber and recorded two victories last season before being sold quite cheaply in the summer. John was thrilled with the way he had beaten his nine rivals to record his first Larkhill victory. Asked about the colours he was wearing (Green with a red cap) John advised that these were the colours of his grandfather Archie Smith-Maxwell rather than the usual Smith-Maxwell colours that he wears.
The other two races on the card were the Maiden races where there was much drama none more so than in the shorter Maiden Race when Dawn Sunrise unseated his rider Josh Newman at the first fence and then proceeded to cause chaos at the next two fences when three of the runners were eliminated. The fences took their toll on the thirteen strong field with five loose horses passing the winning post ahead of the eventual winner Drake’s Well ridden by Sam Lee and trained by Fred Hutsby. Owned by London Fund Manager Stephen Corbett whose first horse this is, he was acquired from Mark Gichero after a couple of runs in Ireland but when he arrived at Fred’s stable near Stratford he was in a fairly poor state. However with much care from Fred and his wife Caroline including a holiday stay in the summer in Exmoor he has picked up well and is highly regarded by his trainer.
Sophie Lacey’s Airlander was fancied to make a winning debut for owner Lady Cobham in the final race, the Open Maiden, but he could not match the pace of the winner Danilo D’Airy ridden by Zac Baker. Only a five year old he had debuted in one of the Bumpers at Barbury Castle last season but he did not run again. Trained and owned by John Benfield who runs a stud near Heythrop he had been bought in Ireland as a three year old and the plan had been to win earlier than now. The bloodstock agents who were in attendance at the meeting were seen making enquiries about the gelding after his impressive victory.
HURSLEY HAMBLEDON PREVIEW
The first of seven meetings scheduled to be held at Larkhill Racecourse on Salisbury Plain will be taking place this coming Sunday when the Hursley Hambledon hold their point-to-point. One of the most popular courses in England as well as the busiest the course is in good condition ahead of the start of the season with the ground currently reported as good and with rain in the forecast the going should be ideal for most horses. 76 horses have been entered for the 6 races which is an encouraging entry at this time of year when the season is just starting.
The highlights of the meeting are the two Open races where quality horses have been entered. The Mens Open sponsored by the meeting’s main supporter Moore Blatch solicitors of Southampton and Lymington has attracted an entry of 10 horses. The entries include Woodfleet, the winner of a Hunter Chase at Wincanton last season and now in the care of Kate Bandey as her husband Richard holds a public license, the Sally Alner trained duo of Apple’s Queen who missed last season and the consistent Tom Barton, Ardkilly Witness who won an Open at Horseheath last season, Theatre Evening who won a Mens Open at Bratton Down and the progressive Doctor’s Differ who won two races last season. Sarazen Bridge is another improving horse with his last victory coming at Larkhill in March. Kie is an interesting recruit to point –to-pointing having won 5 steeplechases and 2 hurdle races but has not been seen since May 2016 and is now in the care of Johnny Farrelly. Woodfleet is the choice to give owner Anna Reed another Larkhill winner.
The Ladies Open also includes entries for Woodfleet and Theatre Evening and if this race is chosen ahead of the Mens for the latter named then he will be partnered by his owner Charlotte Brown who will be making a return to race riding. Others to consider include the consistent Moscow Prices who will be ridden by part owner Lucy Mager, Midnight King who is likely to be ridden by Claire Hardwick, Foxcub who won a Hunter Chase at the Cheltenham May meeting and Bouggietopieces who finished second in a Ladies at Bratton Down at the end of last season. Southfield Theatre owned by Angela Yeoman and now trained by Sara Bradstock boasts the best National Hunt form with three steeplechase and five hurdle victories to his name and he is taken to make a winning point-to-point debut.
The meeting begins with a two and a half mile Maiden race for which the biggest entry of 16 horses has been received. Of those with form Artson was placed in two Maidens last season, Emergency Speed improved as last season progressed, Bridge of Cally was placed over Hurdles for Harry Whittington and will come on for his run at Buckfastleigh and Signed and Sealed who was placed five times on the flat for Mark Johnston and is now in the care of Julie Wadland. Two newcomers to note are the Kate Bandey trained Walkonthinice and the Sophie Lacey trained Airlander. The last named is owned by Lady Cobham who was successful at this meeting last year with Coningsby and is hoping for a repeat with her Kayf Tara gelding.
The Restricted race may see the English point to point debut of the Luke Harvey owned Drumlynn. Placed in three Irish point to points he made a winning debut for Luke when winning a Bumper at Worcester in June 2017 but has not been seen since the following month. The Jaffna Queen may give him most to do as the Robert Waley-Cohen trained mare improved in her four races last season finishing second at Mollington in her first Restricted race. Brereton was an easy winner of a Maiden at the end of last season in May at Larkhill, Sleepy Sunday won her Maiden in 2017 but missed last season and Rakasba has been placed on a number of occasions. Shallamar was a winner for Tim Underwood at Barbury Castle last weekend and if reappearing comes into the mix.
The Club Conditions race also holds entries for Bouggietopieces and Doctor’s Differ and this may be an easier option for each of them. However the entries for this race are headed by Blackwater Bramble who won at Buckfastleigh for John Smith-Maxwell in a close finish. Derksen won four races for Alice Stevens and is another to consider. Karinga Dancer runs well for his owner/trainer/jockey Laura Thomas and if back to his best may be hard to beat. Pointview Gale ran well at Buckfastleigh and Thereyarsee enjoys racing at Larkhill for his owner Bill Dupont. Princely Player is another to take into account on his second to Hawkhurst on his final appearance and a chance is taken on him.
The final race, the Open Maiden, also holds entries for Airlander and Emergency Speed but if they take up their options in the shorter Maiden then the ones to put on a short list are Lucarno Express, placed third in an Open at Mollington, the ex-Tom Lacey trained Amadoue placed in two Hurdles and now with Emma Alvis and Bubsy Burbidge formerly with Neil Mulholland. Montarlot now trained by Harriet Brown brings good form from Ireland having been placed in his three races there and may be the one to give Lucarno Express the most to do.
Larkhill Racecourse is to be found 5m NW of Amesbury, Nr A303, A345 and A360 – Postcode SP4 8QT. . First race 11.30am Entry Costs £10 per person, race cards £3, children go free
RIP Ned Cummins
September 1944 - November 2018
As many of you will know Ned, our Groundsman here at Larkhill for nearly 20 years, sadly died on 11th November after a short illness.
He will be hugely missed by all of us here at Larkhill and his wider circle of friends within the equestrian community.
Our deepest sympathies to his family at this time.