New Forest Review
New Forest Hounds review
The decision to rearrange the New Forest meeting to a
late May date was rewarded as it was a glorious spring day at Larkhill where a
reasonable crowd was able to enjoy six races and also participate in picnics on
Salisbury Plain. On the racecourse itself it was a day of mixed fortunes for
rider George Hiscock and a first and last race double for owner Tim Underwood
and a first winner at Larkhill for owner Richard Harper and rider Guy Sankey.
George began the day in the Conditions race aboard his
partner Charlotte Brown’s Theatre Evening. Deciding to make the running the
King’s Theatre gelding jumped very well off the firm ground and looked to have
his rivals in trouble as he approached the fifteenth fence. However Philip York
and Presenting Beara had been making steady headway and joining the leader at
the final open ditch they raced together until he found extra on the run in to
win by two lengths. Owner Tim Underwood explained that he does little with his
horses between their races although when he rode him last Thursday he ran off
with him so knew that he was still keen to race again having only raced on the
The Open Maiden proved that lightning does strike twice
with the victory of Brereton for owner Richard Harper. Without a point to point
winner since 2005 he had won a Maiden race at Edgcote the previous Sunday with
Just Skittles and followed up that win when Brereton made all the running under
Guy Sankey to beat the only other finisher Lyre Lad ridden by Lewis Stones.
Bought out of Kayley Woollacott’s stable for £700 at Ascot in March Richard who
trains at Kings Sutton near Banbury could hardly believe his success and was
delighted to have recorded a first win at Larkhill. Explaining his jockey
booking Richard originally had been using Patrick Sankey, Guy’s brother but
when he announced his retirement from riding Patrick recommended Guy to
Richard. Ironically Patrick then changed his mind about retirement and rode the
only other runner in the race Ourcrazyanne who unseated Patrick at the first
The Timico Mixed Open race was the highlight of the
meeting and a field of four set off. After just over a mile George Hiscock
aboard Martin and Kathryn Peaty’s Boygojumping took over the running from his
main rivals Sharp Suit ridden by James King and Rouge Devils ridden by Will
Biddick. He soon started stretching the field and with some spectacular leaps
notably at the fifteenth fence and the second last he was twenty lengths clear
as he approached the last fence. Although he jumped that fence he sadly broke
down badly almost immediately afterwards leaving Sharp
Suit to come home virtually on his own. Boygojumping has been an absolute star
for the Peaty family winning three times at his favourite course of Badbury Rings
and once at Black Forest Lodge in a career spanning twenty two races.
Delgany Devil was a comfortable winner of the Open Maiden
race under Jordan Nailor. Taking up the running at the tenth fence the eight
year old Kayf Tara drew clear to win by twelve lengths from principal rival
Justu ridden by Will Biddick. Representing his son Hugh who was away in France
at his niece’s wedding Guy Wilson explained that the gelding had been bought as
a four year old but had had training problems which had limited his racecourse
outings. He had been taken to Edgcote last weekend but had decided that the
ground was not suitable. One of three horses in training with Francesca Moller
this was their second winner of the season after Dandan had won the Hunt race
The Restricted race saw a change in fortune for George
Hiscock when riding his father Dick’s Doctor’s Differ he held off the
challenges of Coco Live ridden by David Prichard and Fivefortyfive ridden by
Will Biddick to win by two and a half lengths. A model of consistency this
season the seven year gelding was a deserving winner after two seconds at
Larkhill and Holnicote and finished his season on a high note with this
victory. Originally bought at Ascot in March
2017 he had previously run in one point to point in Ireland and was described by George’s partner Charlotte as being ‘ fat and hairy’
on that occasion. .
Tim Underwood completed his double when Golden Crisp
comfortably won the concluding race, the PPORA Novice Riders under Craig
Dowson. Explaining his upturn in fortune Tim explained that the gelding does
not like soft ground and this firm surface was much more to his liking. When
questioned about his choice of rider Tim had been recommended Craig by Martin
Oliver who sources many of Tim’s horses describing Craig’s style of riding as
similar to Ruby Walsh. Craig who works for trainer Robert Stephens had ridden
out 5 lots before coming on to Larkhill was recording his sixth victory of the
season and is hoping to obtain his B licence shortly so that he can ride more
By Bob Bracher
New Forest preview
The rearranged New Forest meeting is scheduled to take
place at Larkhill on Salisbury Plain this coming Saturday. Previously due to be
held in March it was abandoned due to snow and ice and the Hunt committee made
the decision to rearrange for May due to earlier dates not being available and the risk
that the going would have considerably changed. The ground has now become firm
but it is still hoped that the meeting can go ahead to reward the efforts of
the Hunt. Fences 5 and 6 have been moved onto fresh ground and the bends into
and out of the home straight have also been moved to an unraced surface. Prior
to the point to point racing there will be a charity race and two pony scurries
starting from 12.00pm.
The opening race, the Conditions, has attracted an entry
of thirteen horses with a number of course specialists among them. Bedrock Fred
who was second in a Ladies earlier in the season normally runs well at the
course and will enjoy the conditions. Hincheslea Moor is another course winner
but has not shown much this season. Trueflyingcolours won at the last meeting
and was a good second at Cothelstone and keeps his form well. Tim Underwood has
entered both Presenting Beara, a winner last weekend at Edgcote and Kicker King
placed third at the same meeting and his chosen representative should be
respected. Dandan won his Hunt race at Mollington whereas According to Trev was
second at Peper Harrow. Before the War, the likely mount of Will Biddick, would
have a chance on his best form as would Theatre Evening if given a more
positive ride. Broughtons Bandit third on his only outing this season at
Aldington comes into consideration but in a wide open race Trueflyingcolours
would be a popular winner.
Whereas the previous race contains much form to weigh up
the Open Maiden which follows has little form to go on. Lyre Lad finished
second in a two runner race whereas Gayatri finished last in a Maiden at the
course in December. Brereton was pulled up on his first outing at Edgcote last
weekend and Perfect Legend was pulled up at Cothelstone on his last outing. Now
in the capable hands of leading trainer Ed Walker a chance is taken on the last
named to improve enough to take this contest.
The Timico Mixed Open is the highlight of the meeting and
the Alan Hill trained Sharp Suit looks to have found a good opportunity. Placed
second in a Ladies at Horseheath on his only outing this season he could be too
good for his rivals. La Madonnina was a game winner of a Conditions race last
Sunday at Bratton Down and is in great form whereas both Boygojumping and
Golden Crisp have had busy seasons. Rouge Devils was second at Holnicote and
could the one to trouble Sharp Suit the most.
The Open Maiden over two and half miles includes entries
from all of those entered in the three mile contest but the race may be between
Delgany Devil and Justu. The former was fourth in a Restricted race at Kingston
Blount and boasts the best form but Justu who looked the winner four from home
at Cothelstone but did not stay might appreciate the drop in trip and could
make a real race of it with Delgany Devil.
The Restricted race may see the reappearance of the Lower
Machen maiden winner Burn Baby Byrne who won on her debut under Isabel
Williams. If she stays the full trip then she is the one to beat but the
consistent Doctor’s Differ may give her most to do. The winner of a maiden at
Badbury Rings he has been placed in two Restricted races so far and will act on
the faster surface. Wild Ginger is another who may appreciate a sounder surface
and Coco Live who has been placed this season comes into consideration.
The meeting concludes with the Novice Riders race for
which Golden Crisp, Presenting Beara and Before the War also hold entries. This
might be an easier contest than their other options but Aerlite Supreme looks
to have the best form. Already the winner of three races this season he was
second in a Ladies at Lower Machen and could provide Isabel Williams with
another winner. Of his other possible rivals the locally trained Adrenalin
Flight ran very well behind the classy Wonderful Charm at Fontwell and a
reproduction of that form would give him a chance. Cinevator goes well for his
rider Ella Pickard and he is in good form having won his Hunt race at
Vauterhill. If Aerlite Supreme makes the trip from Wales then he will be the
Bob Bracher PRO Wessex Area
Larkhill Racecourse is to be found 5m NW of Amesbury, Nr
A303, A345 and A360 – Postcode SP4 8QT. First Race 2.00pm. Entry Costs £10 per
South and West Wilts Review
Spring arrived at Larkhill and a good crowd enjoyed some
fine warm weather at the South and West Wilts point-to-point. On going
described officially at good, good to firm in places the meeting was dominated
by champion jockey Will Biddick who rode three winners and Martin McIntyre who
rode a double. At the other end of the spectrum Hollie Greene rode her first
ever winner in her first season of riding in point-to-points
Martin began the day by steering the ever popular Trueflyingcolours
to a five length victory in the Hunt race over his only rival Thepremierbroker
ridden by Lorcan Williams. Recording his fourth career win at Larkhill on a
surface he would much prefer the gelding was giving trainer Stuart Penny a
belated first winner of the season. Assistant trainer Teona Hammond dedicated
the victory to the memory of Brian Young who had been a staunch supporter of
Stuart’s stable over many years. She added that to keep the horse’s interest
(this was his 40 career race) he has been doing a variety of
activities including leading the ponies and jumping logs in the woods.
An eventful Maiden race followed with only five of the
twelve starters finishing the race. Sinour ridden by Rilly Goschen established
a clear lead for much of the race but appeared to be weakening when falling at
the third last. This left the slow starting Foxworthy who had been making
steady headway clear and he maintained a commanding advantage all the way to
the line in the hands of Will Biddick. Bred by owner Richard Kelvin-Hughes out
a useful mare called Candy Creek the imposing gelding had shown promise on his
debut three weeks and would have been closer to the winner that day except for
a bad blunder at the third last. A late developing six year old he should go on
to better things.
Subtle Sovereign on his belated seasonal debut showed his
love for Larkhill to be undiminished when scoring for the seventh time at the
Wiltshire course when winning the Ladies race under Lucy Mager. Owned by the
nine strong Notre Cheval Partnership and trained by Teresa Clark the gelding
had been an intended runner in his Hunt race at Kingston St Mary but when that
meeting was called off this race on ground that he would prefer was chosen. He
was followed home by Bedrock Fred ridden for the first time by Aine O’Connor
who made a miraculous recovery from a bad mistake at the third fence.
Will Biddick notched up another winner when taking the
Mens Open race on board Richard Kelvin-Hughes‘s Different Gravey trained by Ed
Walker. Previously a high class horse when trained by Nicky Henderson he had
rather lost his way under Rules but a spell of hunting with Polly Walker and a
different environment has transformed him back into a confident individual. He
held off the challenge of Bistouri D’Honore ridden by Ed Doggrell by three
lengths with another ten lengths back to Sidbury Hill. There are no firm plans
for the winner but Richard hopes that they might be able to get another run
into him before the season ends.
Will’s treble came courtesy of Sixteen Letters in the
young Maiden race. Facing only one opponent who unseated her rider at the
eighth fence this was a bloodless victory. Previously owned by the late Richard
Woollacott owner John Symes was persuaded by Richard to buy him as both of the
horses John ran last season had been retired. John revealed that this was the
first time Will had ever ridden for him and quipped that ‘it was probably
because he had not had anything good enough for Will to ride in the past’ There
was another connection with the Biddick family in that John had bought one of
his best horses Whizzaar from Will’s father Mike after that gelding had fallen
at Lifton in 2005 and then went on to win ten point-to-points and four Hunter
There was a dramatic finish to the Connolly’s Red Mills
Intermediate race with Blue Benny and Whatastormnorm flashing past the post
together. After a brief delay the judge decided he could not split them and
awarded a dead heat between them. This gave 17 year old Hollie Greene her first
ever winner on her grandmother Jill Miller’s Blue Benny. Trained earlier in the
season by Michael Miller he was transferred to neighbour Lucy Felton who has
been riding him at home as Hollie is still at school in North London and had
not sat on him for a couple of weeks. Described by Lucy as ‘a real dude’ and a
pleasure to train Blue Benny had run a good race at Milborne last month when
finishing fourth. Whatastormnorm gave Ella Pickard a change in fortune when
giving her the first winner of this season from the five horses she trains from
her home base. Owned by her younger sister Ruby he was previously owned by
Norman Chanin and had won at Great Trethew in 2016. Ella works for National
Hunt trainer Jeremy Scott as well as looking after her point-to-pointers.
Martin McIntyre completed his double aboard Godfrey
Maundrell’s Delineate in the Restricted race. Normally ridden by Zak Baker he
had been booked to ride in the Scottish Grand National and put forward Martin
for the ride on Delineate. When his intended mount at Ayr was withdrawn he
found himself available to ride and ironically had a ride in the race Castle
Cheetah who fell at the second fence. Delineate had previously won the Hunt
race at the Royal Artillery meeting and showed her liking for Larkhill by
gamely holding off the challenge of Doctor’s Differ ridden by George Hiscock.
Riding for Godfrey for the first time Martin showed his strength in a finish
and had four lengths to spare at the finish.
WEST WILTS PREVIEW.
washout in Wessex last weekend, local trainers will be keen to get their horses
back out on the course and the Lycetts South & West Wilts meeting at Larkhill this
Saturday looks to have benefitted with 122 entries. The
Willowbrook Challenge Charity race in aid of the Wiltshire Air Ambulance kicks
of the activities with 9 set to face the starter over 12 furlongs. Owner Donald Hinks may have stolen a march on
the remaining contestants recruiting his own Cucklington already a 4 time
winner under rules this season for Colin Tizzard. Hopefully Harry Cobden, the horse’s regular
rider will be discussing best riding tactics!
Donald’s opponents include race regular Selina Kirkbride and veteran
rider John Mead who has the choice of two mounts.
The first race, the Hunt Members, includes the
3 time course winner, Trueflyingcolours trained by Stuart Penny. He hasn’t won since taking a Ladies Open here
in 2015 but if the ground continues to dry he may find it more to his liking
than last time at Badbury Rings.
Opposing him are the mare, Gayatri who showed up well for a time 2 weeks
ago at Badbury Rings for trainer Caroline Hobbs, and Thepremierbroker who won
an Irish point in March before being purchased by Mel Smith Bloodstock to join
Bea Coward to replace the sidelined Arcal Fifty.
maiden has attracted 26 entries including Foxworthy for the Ed Walker
stable. He may have finished closer than
3 but for a mistake 3 out here 3 weeks ago and should
improve. On that occasion Imogen’s
Thunder finished one place ahead of him.
Rose Loxton has Hugo’s Horse for owner Andy Stewart and he was unlucky
to run into the promising Muse of Fire last time he ran here with Sixteen
Letters unseating in the same race. He
may however wait for the younger maiden later on the card. Teresa Clark has promising pair, Pancrace and
Port Navas entered and either would be entitled to build on their previous
runs. Alan Walter’s River Wye put in her
most promising run to date when last seen when second at Trebudannon last
May. Smoke Man finished second on his
only start to date and should improve while any Tom Lacey debutante merits
respect. His The Triple Pillar is out of
useful NH mare Issaquah, herself twice placed at the Aintree Festival, and
being a 4yo he would be in receipt of up to 21lbs from his older rivals.
Ltd continue to sponsor the Ladies Open and this looks to be a decent contest
with 16 entries headed by Mike Felton’s Bistouri d’Honore who won nicely at
Badbury Rings when taking the Novices Riders race under Ed Doggrell. He had earlier taken a Ladies Open at the
same course and previously been a fair second at Larkhill in January. Subtle Sovereign has yet to run this season
due to cancellations but has won 6 times at the track including his seasonal
debut last year. He has also stuck up a
great partnership with jockey Lucy Mager.
Sidbury Hill won twice here last season while another dual course
winner, Storm Lantern was unlucky not to win a Ladies Open here in January
under owner/jockey Jo Harbison.
The Lycetts Men’s
Open boasts a healthy 30 entries including the useful Different Gravey. Formerly once rated 160 with Nicky Henderson,
he has taken to pointing well this season recording victories at Didmarton and
here at Larkhill. On the latter occasion
Sally Alner’s 4 time course winner, Thereyarsee unseated when still in
contention. Thereyarsee had earlier
routed the opposition in a 30 length romp at the course in a Conditions race in
January. Classy mare Fishy Story may
well have won the Men’s Open at Milborne St Andrew last time but for unseating
three out. Former Jamie Snowden inmate,
Ardkilly Witness just failed to reel in Curraigflemens last time at Horseheath
and could improve while Carrig Dubh was second in a confined here last time. Universal Soldier clocked up 5 wins last term
under James Bowen and has been running well for new handler Matt Hampton this
Maiden is for younger horses and Rose Loxton may choose this option for Hugo’s
Horse. A big danger would be Ed Walker’s
unraced My Dixie who is well-bred being a half-sister to My Dance a dual winner
under rules for Anthony Honeyball. Ed
also has another well-bred debutante in Gio’s Girl. She is out of the mare Programme Girl who was
a multiple winner under rules for Alan Swinbank. Others to consider are Sixteen Letters, and
Sally Alner’s Truly Spoken and two further debutantes, Soraya and Rob the
Red Mills Intermediate is an additional race to the card due to other fixtures
being lost. It has 13 entries which
include Claire Hitch’s Every Breakin’ Wave, a three time winner last season and
Teresa Clark’s Umberleigh winner, Give Us Peace. Both may enjoy the ground as it dries out as
might the mare Our Milly Acres. Teresa
also has Mistress Massini who put in a good performance when making all to land
a Restricted at Barbury 2 weeks ago.
Micky Stark made light of the heavy conditions last time at
Buckfastleigh to win nicely under Zoe Hawkins.
Silent Warrior was not disgraced in 3 last time here behind
2 useful horses while The Drone was in winning form when last seen in May.
The finale is a
Restricted race and this could be between the 5yos, Top Garry who took his
maiden nicely under Page Fuller at Garthorpe in February and Danseur du Large a
winner at Ston Easton from subsequent scorer, Ann Maries Reject. Others to consider are George Hiscock’s
Doctor’s Differ who won his maiden well at Badbury Rings in February while
Restless Rebel seems to save his best runs for Chipley Park.
Racecourse is 5m NW of Amesbury, Nr A303, A345 and A360 – Postcode SP4 8QT. The
Charity Race is at 1.15pm with the first point to point race at 2pm. Entry Costs £10 per person.
Avon Vale review
A grey and somewhat chilly Easter Saturday at Larkhill
was enlivened by some good quality racing when the Avon Vale held their meeting
in which friends and family celebrated the life of James McNeile who lost his
life after a fall at this meeting twelve months ago. The inaugural race in his
memory was won by Railway Storm ridden by Ryan Withey whereas the other
highlights were riding doubles for Will Biddick and Tommie O’Brien and training
doubles for Ed Walker and Sophie Lacey.
Sarazen Bridge ridden by Nick Phillips made all of the
running to land the opening race, the Confined race, with the winning distance
of four lengths from Carrig Dubh ridden by Charlie Dando. Owned by Alice Dolman
and trained by Elizabeth Brown he was supplementing his victory at the Royal
Artillery meeting in January. Nick admitted that he had left his challenge at
the Combined Services meeting too late so this time made no mistake by setting
off in front and remaining there at the finish. Alice revealed that the horse
will be staying point-to-pointing as he has a non- racing agreement in his
passport and is looking forward to running him in higher grade races.
Owner Tom Lacey introduced a smart four year old by
Getaway called Muse of Fire who was a narrow winner of the two and a half mile
Maiden race beating the only other finisher Hugos Horse by three quarters of a
length. Tom reported that the horse did not enjoy the soft ground and his cause
was not helped by a loose horse galloping across him on a couple of occasions
and crossing him again on the run in. Paying credit to his jockey Tommie
O’Brien who he described as ‘doing a great job on him’ who in turn said that
his mount was’ rather green but toughed it out at the end of the race’.
Punter Friendly was a very narrow winner of the
Conditions race under Will Biddick who just got the better of the only other
finisher Crackacan ridden by Tom Doggrell. Ridden by Will for the first time he
was not helped by mistakes at two of the last four fences but Will’s strength
in a finish was a decisive factor. Owned by Richard and Sylvia Francome and
trained by Ed Walker Sylvia affectionately described her horse as ‘an old bat
who dislikes hunting who usually is a brilliant jumper ‘but is normally ridden
by Josh Newman who was riding at Buckfastleigh.
Will secured his double in the next race, the Mixed Open
race, aboard Different Gravey also trained by Ed Walker. The race was
developing into a duel between Different Gravey and Thereyarsee ridden by
Lorcan Williams when the last named blundered badly at the third last giving
Lorcan no chance of remaining in the saddle. This allowed Will to coast home to
secure a twelve length victory over Asockastar. Owned by Richard Kelvin-Hughes
he reported that the gelding had lost his confidence under Rules and also was
suffering from ulcers and his trainer Nicky Henderson had suggested that a
change of scenery might recapture his former good form. He has hunted on a
regular basis by Polly Walker and he seems to have greatly benefited from this.
Tom Lacey secured his second victory as an owner when his
King Roland was an impressive winner in the Open Maiden race. Drawing clear
from the second last he had fifteen lengths in hand from runner up Imogens
Thunder and newcomer Foxworthy and rider Tommie O’Brien had some difficulty in
pulling up his mount and had to travel some three furlongs after the winning
post before bringing him to a halt. Tom
described his win as ‘ an exceptional performance’ and ‘ a debut as good as I
have seen in 10 years of having pointers’ and he is a big horse for a four year
old and still has more growing up to do. He may be going to the forthcoming
Aintree sale and if so will attract a great deal of interest.
The Conditions race for Veteran and Novice Riders
sponsored by the James McNeile Fan Club provided a surprise winner when the
outsider of the four runners Railway Storm ridden by Ryan Withey proved to be
too good for his rivals. Leading from the ninth fence he stayed on well to beat
nearest rival Minellahalfcentury owned by James McNeile’s estate by twelve
lengths. Owned by Christopher White from Sparkford the gelding had been
acquired from Jimmy Frost who had won a steeplechase at Exeter under Bryony
Frost in 2016. Reminiscing about his own riding career he said with a smile that’
I had over 100 rides but only had a single winner called Knigh Lover a long
Kit Barry was a cosy winner of the Intermediate race when
collaring leader V Neck at the last fence and drawing away on the run-in to
record a five length victory. Owned and trained by David Dando and ridden by
his son Charlie he has been gradually improving and was recording his third win
in a row. Charlie explained that he needs to be held up for as long as possible
and the partnership are unbeaten this season after two starts.
Avon Vale preview
The Avon Vale hold their meeting at Larkhill on Easter Saturday and with good going currently forecast there should be some very competitive racing amongst the seven race card. In addition to the racing there will be a lot of Easter activities including an Easter Egg Hunt for under 16s at 12 noon, a Fun Dog Show from 12.30pm and an equicizor on site with tutoring from a professional rider. There will be a race (the Veteran and Novice race) to celebrate the life and sporting endeavour of James McNeile who tragically lost his life at this meeting last year and 50 members of the recently formed Fan Club will be in attendance. There will be an exit collection and a donation made by the Hunt for the Injured Jockeys Fund.
The first race, the Confined, has attracted fourteen entries with previous course winner Sarazen Bridge likely to be one of the fancied horses. Other course specialists include Hincheslea Moor, Sidbury Hill and Impact Area and their chances should be respected. Carrig Dubh won an Intermediate at Didmarton for Charlie Dando and is clearly improving. Punter Friendly won his Hunt race at the same meeting and may be the one to chase Sarazen Bridge home. Billy Two Tongues won two chases for Jeremy Scott and will be partnered by Luca Morgan following his purchase.
The Open Maiden over two and half miles features a number of horses yet to make their racecourse debuts. The Sophie Lacey trained pair of King Roland and Muse of Fire should be watched with interest as well as the Ed Walker trained pair of Foxworthy and My Dixie both owned by Richard Kelvin-Hughes. Gypsy Charm another 4 year old from Ian Chanin’s yard should be noted and of those that have raced Hugos Horse and Sixteen Letters have the best form. The Sophie Lacey selected representative may come out best.
The Conditions race for horses aged 9 and over which has been sponsored by Johnnie Boden who knew James McNeile well, has received an entry of 22 horses with a number entered in the Confined race also holding an entry in this race. Broadway Symphony was a good winner at Ampton in January and should have chances as well as Colbert Station who finished fourth at Ystradowen last Saturday. Crackacan was only seen once last season when finishing second at Kingston St Mary but clearly retains some ability. Bellenos won two chases for Dan Skelton but has not been seen since October 2015. If Punter Friendly swerves the Confined race then he might the answer to a tricky looking race.
The Mixed Open race sponsored by the Westons of Goodman Nash has a quality looking field of 15 entries with Broken Eagle and The Wealerdealer the standout horses. Broken Eagle the winner of 13 of his 16 point-to-point races has a choice of four races over the holiday period so The Wealerdealer might be a more likely runner. Different Gravey won on his point-to-point debut at Didmarton and Ni Sin E Mo Ainm won the Ladies race at Chaddesley Corbett on his seasonal debut. Thereyarsee did not enjoy going left handed at Charlton Horethorne and returns to his favourite course at Larkhill. Hard Station the winner of two Hunter Chases in Ireland and Woodfleet are
both trained by Richard Bandey and his preferred runner comes into the mix. The Wealerdealer is slightly preferred over Ni Sin E Mo Ainm.
The Open Maiden race also contains entries for the Sophie Lacey pair as well as Hattie Hopkinson from the same yard who finished second at the Brocklesby meeting. Of the others that have raced Loodeen was second at Larkhill earlier in the season before falling at Charlton Horethorne and Hugos Horse fell in that same race. River Wye had form from last season but has not been out yet in 2018. If Hattie Hopkinson is the selected Lacey representative then she will be the choice.
The Veterans and Novice Riders race with a brand new trophy to commemorate James McNeile’s life has received 15 entries with Woodfleet the classy entry. The winner of the Intermediate Final at Cheltenham last year he has been taking on much better company and this might be an opportunity to give him some confidence back. Potential rivals include Adrenalin Flight who gave Matthew Fielding his first winner, The Caller narrowly beaten at Bangor-on-Dee by Barel of Laughs and Minellahalfcentury who is the last horse still owned by the estate of James McNeile. Woodfleet is selected for this race.
The meeting concludes with an intriguing Intermediate race which may see a clash between the unbeaten Silent Warrior, the impressive Charlton Horethorne winner Swincombe Toby, the equally easy winner Blackwater Bramble who won at Milborne but disappointed at Charlton Horethorne and the fragile but talented V Neck. Richard Bandey has two entries Fortune Bound and Irish Legionnaire but they may not be good to halt the upward progress of Swincombe Toby who is narrowly preferred.
Larkhill Racecourse is to be found 5m NW of Amesbury, Nr A303, A345 and A360 – Postcode SP4 8QT. Gates open 10.30am. First race 1.00 pm Entry Costs £10 per person, children go free. Early Bird admission prices cease at 6pm on Friday evening – www.avonvaleraces.com
Combined Services Review
The renewal of the feature race at the Combined Services
meeting at Larkhill, the Coronation Gold Cup, produced a real family success
for the Barlow family. Owned by Mark and his daughter-in-law Sarah and ridden
by Mark’s son Andrew Brackloon High was a very popular winner and followed up
his victory in the same race his in 2017. This was the highlight of an
excellent day’s racing where the weather remained dry and a good crowd attended
the Wiltshire point-to-point course where the going continued to be on the soft
side of good. Other notable achievements were first point-to-point riding
successes for Matthew Fielding and Gordon Treacy and a smart performance from
the 4 year old gelding Interconnected in the Open Maiden race.
Adrenalin Flight provided Matthew Fielding with his first
ever winner when winning the Conditions Race for Novice Riders. Biding his time
at the rear of the ten strong field he gradually made progress to pass long-
time leader Bridge End and had five lengths in hand at the winning post. Owned
by Matthew’s boss Seamus Mullins and trained by Sally Rawlins at Figheldean the
gelding who won 4 steeplechases and 2 Hurdles when trained by Seamus provided
his son James with his first winner last season. Matthew, 20, from Enford,
joined Seamus’s stable straight from school and paid tribute to him for
teaching him all he knows about race riding and for allowing him to ride
Adrenalin Flight. Sally was keen to give credit to Andy Dicks who rides him at
home as well as riding out for Richard Hannon.
After supervising events at Ascot on Saturday Guy
Henderson was in a different role at Larkhill when watching his and his wife’s
gelding It Has to Be ridden by their son Ed win the Restricted race. A previous
winner this season at Wadebridge this was the horse’s first visit to Larkhill
but he was a comfortable six lengths winner. Ed who is currently studying law
at Exeter does ride out at Paul Nicholls stable when time permits but leaves
the work on the seven year old to his mother Sophie and Veronika Hicksova back
at home in Dorset.
Alternatif provided Gordon Treacy with his first ever
point-to-point winner although he has won two races under Rules. He joined Jade
Barber’s stable during the summer but has recently become a part-time work
rider to give him other opportunities to ride for other stables and hopes that
his Novice status will be used this season. The winner, bought from David
Pipe’s stable in 2017, joined Jade’s yard at the beginning of the season and
provided her with her second training victory of the season in the Conditions
race. Owned by Peter Barfoot and Angela Cooper who were celebrating their first
point-to-point winner Peter explained that he had played polo for over 25 years
and was Chairman of Cowdray Park until a very serious accident eighteen months
ago which curtailed that interest. Drawn to point-to-pointing as a means to
keep a connection with horses he explained that his racing colours of bright
yellow and green were related to the sweetcorn and other more exotic vegetable
business which bears his name.
Brackloon High defied his thirteen years to defeat much
younger rivals in the Coronation Gold Cup and to become the first horse to win
this most prestigious race two years running since Dawn Street thirty years
ago. Although Andrew Barlow put up two pounds overweight he had lost half a
stone since his last ride on 27 January to get down to his minimum
weight and was looking forward to another square meal. Tracking the leaders Mon
Parrain and favourite Full Trottle he went to the front approaching the last
and with a bold jump he looked to have the race won easily. However Andrew
commented afterwards that he had hit the front too soon and the gelding had to
be encouraged to hold off the renewed challenges of Mon Parrain and
Thereyarsee. He added that ‘this win means more to us than last year as the
importance of the race and the magnificent trophy has now sunk in’
The Maiden race run over two and a half miles was an all
the way success for Cool Valley ridden by Sam Davies-Thomas. Trained by Liz
Harris at Waltham on the Wolds in Leicestershire and owned by Catherine
Wood-Collins who sadly missed her first ever winner as an owner the nine year
gelding had not been seen since May 2016 so this was a tremendous training
performance. Bought from an advert on the Jumping for Fun website to go hunting
this did not prove a success and a return to racing was suggested to Catherine.
Tommy Morgan, partner of Liz, explained that the gelding had done a really good
piece of work about six weeks ago and he told Sam that he thought he might have
found another useful horse. Although it was a long way from their base the
conditions of the race suited them perfectly and with stable star Lough Inch on
board as a travelling companion the venture was certainly rewarded.
Interconnected provided owners Tom Lacey and Neil
Griffith with a smooth victory in the concluding Open Maiden race ridden by
Tommie O’Brien. The four year old took advantage of his weight concession to
draw clear of his main pursuers Loodeen and Country Legend on the run in and
showed an impressive turn of foot. Bought as a foal from his breeder Stephen
Kemble in Ireland in 2014 by Neil Griffith who is better known for his horses
that he runs under Rules such as Singlefarmpayment he had been pleasing
connections with his work at home and made up for his fall at Thorpe at the end
of January. He is most likely to be going to the sales at Cheltenham during the
Prior to the point-to-point racing the traditional King’s
Troop race was won by Gunner Laura Moon riding Lagertha. Laura, 20, from
Wellington, Somerset was riding in her first King’s Troop race and has been a
Gunner for 3 years.
COMBINED SERVICES PREVIEW
Larkhill features one of the seasons most prestigious and
famous point-to-point races, the Coronation Gold Cup, at the Combined Services
meeting on Sunday. Always a high class race this year’s renewal has attracted a
quality entry of 25 horses and with total prize money of £2,000 there will be
keen competition to lift the Cup. There has been an excellent entry of 141
horses for the 6 scheduled races and with the going currently on the soft side
of good a large turnout of runners is expected. The course has gone back well
since the last meeting with bends and the final fence moved. The schooling
facilities at Larkhill have been used in recent weeks by leading National Hunt
trainers Colin Tizzard, Harry Fry and Seamus Mullins who have appreciated the
better going with their own schooling grounds too wet. In addition to the
racing organisers have arranged for a total of 22 trade stands to attend with a
wide variety of attractions for racegoers to browse and make purchases.
After the traditional Kings Troop race at 12.00 the first
point-to-point race, the Conditions Race for Novice Riders, takes place at
12.45. A good entry of 24 horses has been received for this race with Pink Eyed
Pedro, Storm Lantern, Tempelpirate and Before the War looking the principal
contenders. Pink Eyed Pedro who will be ridden by the promising Connor Brace
was an easy winner of a Conditions race at the first January meeting at the
course and a repeat of that form should be good enough. Storm Lantern nearly
caused an upset at the last meeting when just being beaten by Monsieur
Gibraltar and Before the War was finishing well at Milborne St Andrew on his
last outing. Tempelpirate is a prolific winner and is starting to build a
relationship with Sam Burton.
The Restricted race follows and the two winners of the
divided Maiden race at the last meeting may oppose in this event. Both Arcal
Fifty and Benjamin Leader were comfortable winners and they may fight out the
finish. Other promising sorts to consider are Damby’s Star and Silent Warrior
who won the two Maiden races at Cocklebarrow in January. It Has to Be has been
very consistent so far this season and Restless Rebel ran well when second at
Chipley Park. Gold Decree won a Maiden at Dingley last season but changed hands
last August. Good Auld Times won a point –to-point at Moira, Ireland in
December and was bought by present connections in January and any market
confidence in her should be noted. Benjamin Leader is chosen to continue his
upward progress for Mike Daniell.
The Conditions race is next and this has received an entry
of 29 horses. Sarazen Bridge was an easy winner of the Intermediate race at the
last meeting and on that form may be hard to beat. Others to consider are
Fortune Bound who won well at the first Larkhill meeting in December, the
choice of the Ed Walker trained pair of Inch Rock or Punter Friendly, Willem
who found his form at the end of last season, Bob The Butcher trained by David
Brace, Master Sunrise who was placed in two Hunter Chases last season and
Pithivier who won a Hurdle for Ben Pauling when owned by Paul and Clare Rooney and who is now with Peter Mason. Sarazen Bridge
is the selection in an open looking race.
The Coronation Gold Cup is the fourth race on the card
and looks a high class renewal. Both Caid du Berlais and Monsieur Gibraltar
from Rose Loxton’s stable have been in excellent form with Harriet Tucker
winning 3 races on board in Ladies races. This looks a tougher assignment with
the ultra- consistent Full Trottle, last year’s winner Brackloon High,
Lilbitluso, Thereyarsee and Bound For Glory amongst their potential rivals.
Facile Bien was a comfortable winner at Milborne St Andrew and is certainly
improving. William Money has already won three races this season but this is a
rise in class for him. Woodfleet ought to come on for his seasonal debut but
this is mixing with the best point-to-point horses in the area. Facile Bien is
picked to follow up his Milborne win and stake his claim for a Hunter Chase
The two Maiden races complete the card with the first
being a Maiden over 2 and a half miles for horses who have run at least 4 times
in a point-to-point. 13 horses are entered with the consistent Troed Y Melin
being the standout entry. Placed twice already this season this looks an ideal
opportunity for the six year old gelding trained by Chris Honour to get off the
mark. Main opposition may come from Ballyjim who was third at the last meeting
for trainer Jade Barber, Bastante placed in 2 Irish point-to-points and now
with Richard Bandey and Pancrace placed third in a Bumper for Gordon Elliott
and now with Teresa Clark.
The biggest entry of the day is for the final race the
Open Maiden with a total of 30 horses. Of those with form Kayf Farmer who was
second at Chipley Park on his debut looks promising. Hugo’s Horse was placed
for Jack Barber last season and is now with Rose Loxton and should be noted.
The Jaffna Queen was third at Milborne St Andrew last month and should improve
for that run. Of the newcomers notice should be made of the Sophie Lacey
trained pair of Interconnected who fell at Thorpe Lodge at the end of last
month and Port of Mars, Orchard Lane who was placed in a Bumper for Katy Price
and Foxworthy who is out of Candy Creek the winner of the Aintree Bumper in
2009 and the subsequent winner of two Hurdle races for Richard Kelvin-Hughes. A
chance is taken with the last named to make a winning debut like his mother.
Royal Artillery review
It was a generally wet and overcast day at Larkhill last
Saturday when the going conditions at the Royal Artillery Hunt point-to-point
were testing for horses and riders as well as spectators. Some horses relished
the going most noticeably Thereyarsee who was a convincing winner of the
Conditions Race and another course winner Brackloon High who won the Mens Open
race. Other highlights were a first training success for Bea Coward and a
welcome winner for long standing trainer Mike Daniell from near Upton-on-Severn
The meeting began with a surprise winner in the Hunt race
when Delineate ran out a comfortable winner under Zak Baker for owner/trainer
Godfrey Maundrell. Previously a maiden after 16 point to point starts she
stayed on much better than her more fancied rivals Adrenalin Flight and Sidbury
Hill and had 10 lengths in hand at the line. Bought by Godfrey as a three year
old in Ireland the 9 year mare had been placed in a Bumper and a Hurdle as well
as numerous placings in point-to-points and was not winning out of turn.
Arcal Fifty provided Bea Coward with her first ever
winner as a trainer on only his second appearance for her in the First Division
of the Maiden race. As his first race was the void race at the previous meeting
when he was disputing the lead the result was not unexpected but it gave the 12
strong Barrow Street Racing Club much to celebrate afterwards as he was given
an excellent ride by Tommie O’Brien to win by seven lengths. Following the
instructions he was given to the letter the gelding was much too good for Cook
The Books ridden by Gina Andrews. Tommie was booked by Will Shields one of the
owners of the horse courtesy of Facebook having lost the services of the
previous rider Jamie Thomas who was believed to have suffered a broken wrist.
Bea who trains two horses at Barrow Street near Mere on the Somerset/Wiltshire
border is a former work rider for Caroline Keevil and is the daughter of the
well- known sculptor Sarah Coward.
Benjamin Leader named after the Victorian landscape
painter was a welcome winner for Mike Daniell in the Second Division of the
Maiden race. After Ain’t No Limits had unseated Sam Lee at the third last when
still in front the race developed into a match between Benjamin Leader ridden
by James Martin and Goldencard ridden by Will Biddick with the former winning
by 4 lengths. The winner who is a half- brother to the ill-fated KIngscourt
Native who was trained by Colin Tizzard is a home bred like many of Mike’s
runners who reminisced in the winner’s enclosure about Kettles his dour stayer
who won 4 races for him in the 1990’s. Mike was keen to give Max Comley credit
for the work he has done with Benjamin Leader at home.
The Ladies race on paper looked like a guaranteed victory
for Monsieur Gibraltar as his form was considerably better than his four
rivals. However Storm Lantern made it a proper test and the favourite only wore
his rival down in the final strides to win by a head and give his young rider
Harriet Tucker her third winner of the season. Explaining the decision to run
Monsieur Gibraltar in a Ladies race his trainer Rose Loxton said that’ he was
being asked to carry huge weights in Mens Open races whereas Harriet could
claim her 5 pound allowance as a Novice and reduce his weight to 10 stone 9
pounds’. Ideally he wants better ground than the soft ground he encountered
when he goes Hunter Chasing.
The Conditions Race provided the biggest field (17 ran)
and the easiest winner of the day in the form of Thereyarsee ridden by Lorcan Williams.
Taking up the running at the 15 fence he drew further clear from
his rivals and after a spectacular leap at the 2 last he powered
on to the line to finish twenty five lengths clear of his nearest pursuer Call
Me Ben. Giving Sally Alner her first training success of the season on the
horse that she rides at home owner Bill Dupont was thrilled with his gelding
who was recording his fourth course victory at Larkhill.
Brackloon High was recording another win at Larkhill in
the Mens Open race under usual pilot Andrew Barlow. Part owner Mark Barlow
thought that the ground might be too soft for him but he proved to stay on
better than his two closest rivals Bistouri D’Honore and Man of Steel. Although
he won last year’s Coronation Gold Cup a repeat attempt might not be on the cards
in view of the weight that Andrew would have to carry as this is below his
usual weight and dieting did not agree with him in 2017.
A very competitive Intermediate concluded the meeting
with Sarazen Bridge ridden by Nick Phillips impressively winning by fifteen
lengths. Owned by equine physiotherapist Alice Dorman who is a friend of
trainer Elizabeth Brown the gelding relished the ground and although V Neck ran
well on his return to racing for Christopher Barber Nick Phillips was in
command from the second last.
Larkhill Racing Club Review
A huge turn- out of runners was the feature of the
Larkhill Racing Club meeting where a very chilly wind blew across Salisbury
Plain and encouraged racegoers to seek warmth at every opportunity. However the
racing was of a very high standard and this certainly
kept those who had braved the elements to the end of a total of nine races. The
highlights were a scintillating return to form of Cousin Pete in the Mens Open
race, a double for owner Clive Bennett and his rider Sam Jukes, a double for
owner Tom Lacey and his rider Tommie O’Brien and a first riding success for
Meisha Micklewright on her first ever ride.
The day began with a narrow victory for Chasforgold owned
by Clive Bennett, trained by Emma Alvis and ridden by Sam Jukes in the first
division of the Conditions Race. Boygojumping ridden by George Hiscock had
outjumped his rival and looked the likely winner but Chasforgold does stay well
and he responded to his rider’s urgings to get up on the line to win by a head.
He is likely to stay point-to-pointing for at least most of the season.
The second division of the Conditions race was won
impressively by the David Brace owned and trained Pink Eyed Pedro ridden by his
promising grandson Connor Brace. Sired by the late Dr Massini who used to stand
at Dunraven Stud out of a mare called Poacher’s Paddy David reported that the
dam is in now in foal to his other stallion Mountain High. Pink Eyed Pedro
always wears a hood to keep him calm and travels both to and from the races in
The Ladies race was a high quality event with Caid du
Berlais stamping his class on the eleven strong field. Successful at the
previous meeting this was a much stronger race with several of his rivals
boasting wins in Hunter Chases and Steeplechases but the result was the same
with the former Paddy Power Gold Cup winner outstaying Dabinett Moon and Dicky
Bob. Trained by Rose Loxton at Ditcheat and ridden by Harriet Tucker who works
for Paul Nicholls the nine year old has rekindled his enthusiasm for racing and
being in a much smaller yard he is enjoying the change of routine. Rose does
not know whether he might be returning back to the National Hunt yard but hopes
The first division of the Maiden was a maximum field of
18 horses and the youngest horse in the field came out on top. Tom Lacey often
introduces a promising sort at this meeting and the vibes about Energumene
proved correct with the gelding running out a two length winner under Tommie
O’Brien. By the same stallion (Denham Red) as Un de Sceaux he was bought by Tom
as a 3 year old at the Tattersalls Derby sale for 50K Euros. Only born on 13
June 2014 Tom described him as very straightforward to train and ‘as the nicest
four year old I have trained to date’. It will be interesting to see if he
heads for the sales or is kept in training by Tom.
The second division was split on the day but the first
part of the race was declared void for safety reasons as there was an injured
horse on the bend approaching the last fence. At the time before the race was
abandoned Arcal Fifty ridden by Jamie Thomas and Swincombe Toby ridden by
Lorcan Williams and trained by Sally Alner were duelling for the lead and would
probably have fought out the finish.
The second part of the race proved to be the second
winner on the day for Tom Lacey and his rider Tommie O’Brien with another
newcomer Sebastopol. After Elizabeth’s Wish had fallen at the third last the
winner and Three in One trained by Jade Barber had the race between them but
the four year old pulled away on the run in to win by twelve lengths. Bought
this time at the Goffs Landrover June sale for 52K Euros the dam Knockcroghery
had won six races in total on the flat and over hurdles in a long career and
this gelding is her first progeny. By Fame and Glory and this time born in May
2014 Tom described him as a ‘real athlete’ and another exciting prospect for
The Mens Open race attracted another huge field of 19
horses with numerous previous winners in the line -up. Monsieur Gibraltar was
fancied to follow up his success at the previous meeting but he could not cope
with a resurgent Cousin Pete trained by Elizabeth ‘Dibby’ Brown and ridden by
Nick Phillips. Unbeaten in point to points in 2016 and the winner of a Hunter
Chase at Cheltenham in April of that year his form last season consisted on two
non- completions and all was clearly not well. After much time and
investigation an allergy to straw was found to be one factor and he now lives
on shavings. Although he came back into work in August he has been living in a
field up to Boxing Day to get the benefit of fresh air. Clearly back to his
best on this evidence connections are considering a tilt at the Cheltenham
Foxhunters for their home bred Kayf Tara gelding.
Another maximum field of 18 took part in the Restricted
race and this time the judge could not separate Irish Legionnaire and The Well
Road declaring it a dead heat at the winning post. The former owned by Mark
Burton who missed the victory as he was in Shanghai was supplementing his win
at the previous meeting. The latter owned by Clive Bennett and ridden by Sam
Jukes was recording his first victory in England having been owned patiently by
Clive for 3 years. Explaining that the horse had undergone a tie forward
operation last year to improve his breathing his performance bodes well for the
rest of the campaign.
There was a fairy-tale ending to the final race the
Novice Riders Conditions when in a close finish between Real Milan, Tolkeins
Tango and L’Eldorado the last named prevailed to give 24 year old Meisha
Micklewright a first winner on her debut ride. Originally from near Tiverton
Meisha is a vet student in London in her final three months and this was a
dream come true for her. Usually ridden by Tom Chatfeild-Roberts the winner who
is now 13 was considered a suitable ride for a novice and so it turned out to
be. Trained by Chris Bealby at Grantham for owner John Chatfeild-Roberts it was
Chris’s first visit to Larkhill since his days with Nicky Henderson back in
1981 and when asked what instructions he gave to Meisha on her ride it was ‘ to
go and enjoy herself and remember to breathe’
Larkhill Racing Club preview
The first meeting of 2018 at Larkhill has been rewarded
with a huge entry of 193 horses which has resulted in two
of the six races being split at entry and the first race time has been brought
forward to 11.00am. The going is currently reported as being good so there is a
high expectation that there will be a large turn- out of runners on the day.
The quality of the racing will be high with both Open races looking very
competitive so if you are looking for somewhere to finally blow away the
Christmas and New Year cobwebs then Salisbury Plain is just the place. Do make
sure to wrap up warm as the weather can be challenging at Larkhill but access
is good with plenty of room for parking and an excellent view of the racecourse
from the car park.
The Club Conditions race which starts proceedings at
11.00am has already been divided into two races and on the basis of this
season’s form Chasforgold a winner at Barbury Castle for Sam Jukes looks likely
to be the one to support. Others to consider are the Philip Rowley trained
Namako winner of three of his races last season, Flights who should come on for
her run at Barbury Castle, Sonny the One trained by Will Biddick who was not
disgraced at Wadebridge and Cousin Pete who on his best form from two seasons
ago would be a leading player.
The second division of the Club Conditions race may go to
Princely Player who only went down by a neck in a similar race at the last
Larkhill meeting. As he was having his first race for nearly a year Karen
Hobbs’s gelding is entitled to improve on that outing. Potential dangers are
the veteran Colbert Station winner of five races when owned by J P McManus,
Pink Eyed Pedro who will improve for his seasonal debut at Wadebridge,
Templebraden who ran in Open races last season and Superior Fire who was very
consistent last season.
The Ladies Open race sponsored by We Do Vans.Com could
see an exciting race with the winner from the previous Larkhill meeting Caid du
Berlais set to be opposed by course specialist Aikideau who will be ridden by
new jockey Aine O’Connor for trainer Jade Barber. Added to the mix are the Cheltenham
Hunter Chase winner Woodfleet, the prolific Dicky Bob who will be partnered by
Jo Supple (nee Buck), the Stratford
Ladies Hunter Chase winner Dabinett Moon and the enigmatic Sybarite as well as Big Casino who was third
in the highly competitive Mixed Open at Barbury Castle. A race worth savouring
Woodfleet is tentatively chosen to continue his upward curve.
The Open Maiden sponsored by Cottage Field Stables is the
other race that has already been divided at entry. The first division may go to
Danseur du Large already placed in two Maiden races this season for trainer Ed
Walker but the sponsor’s entry of Energumene should be noted as the trainer
does have a good record with newcomers. Others to consider are Toby Maguire
placed fourth in an Irish Maiden and now with Charles Levinson, Oscars Cross a
half-brother to the prolific Giles Cross and Troed Y Melin already placed in
four Maiden races.
Division Two of the Maiden race features both of the
runners up from the two Maiden races at the December meeting. Swincombe Toby
from Sally Alner’s stable and Three in One from Jade Barber’s yard may fight
out the finish between them with the former tipped to come out on top. However
Sophie Lacey’s newcomer Sebastopol out of a six time winning mare may be the
one to watch along with the ex- Dan Skelton trained Dragon De La Tour and the
ex -Irish Marcle Ridge who finished second in his only start to date.
The Mens Open race sponsored by Southern Counties
Auctioneers has attracted the biggest entry of 34 horses. Another high quality race is promised here
with the standout entries being the prolific Broken Eagle from Alan Hill’s
yard, the very promising Facile Bien owned by Robert Waley-Cohen, the
consistent Premier Portrait and the winner of last season’s Coronation Gold Cup
Brackloon High. Monsieur Gibraltar won
well at the last meeting and may put his fitness to good use. Real Milan
usually runs well at Larkhill and if Woodfleet opts for this race rather than
the Ladies then the hint should be taken.
The Restricted race sponsored by Woolley and Wallis looks
a difficult race to solve. Irish Legionnaire broke his Maiden status at the
last meeting and should improve. Both Ka Maresco and Baltazar du Seuil won
their last outings in 2017 at Kingston Blount and Upcott Cross respectively and
are also on the upgrade. Vouvray won a point in Ireland in November 2016 before
being sold very cheaply last August. Castle Cheetah had some good form when
trained by Ben Pauling in 2016 but has not been seen since and Lively Article
the winner of a Maiden at Brafield-on-the-Green both come into consideration. A
chance is taken with the lightly raced Florella who was placed in two
Restricted races last season for trainer Nick Pearce.
The Novice Riders race sponsored by Symonds and Sampson
with Frome Livestock Auctioneers completes the day’s racing. Real Milan if
bypassing the Mens Open looks one for the shortlist along with Top Chief who
does well in these races, Creepy who won three races last season and the ex-Tim
Underwood trained Too Late To Sell who won three races last season. Thereyarsee
runs well at Larkhill and will have a new rider in Gordon Tracy who works for
Jade Barber and this combination might be the answer to a tricky event.
Larkhill Racecourse is to be found 5m NW of Amesbury, Nr
A303, A345 and A360 – Postcode SP4 8QT. First Race 11.00 am. Entry Costs £10
Hursley Hambledon review
Hursley Hambledon review
There was some really close finishes at the opening
Wessex Point to Point meeting held at Larkhill last Sunday where the racing was
of a high standard and racegoers had the
bonus of an extra race when the Maiden race had to be divided because the
number of entries exceeded the safety factor. The highlights of the meeting
were training doubles for Rose Loxton from Ditcheat and Richard Bandey from
Tadley, a first training winner for Laura Bradley who is based at Bramdean and
a riding double for jockey Martin ‘Fly’ McIntyre.
The meeting began with the combined Hursley Hambledon and
New Forest Hunts race where Swallowshide ridden by Bradley Paris-Crofts for
Brockenhurst trainer James Young looked to have the race in the bag having jumped
the last better than his rival One More Tune and quickly established a clear
lead on the run-in. However his stride shortened nearing the post and Rilly
Goschen galvanised her ride One More Tune to get up to win the race by an
official head. Rilly was scoring her 150 career winner overall
including 19 victories under Rules in a long career which started at Cotley in
May 1991 aboard E Zoe Mou for John Dufosee.
Celebrating in the winners enclosure afterwards trainer
Laura Bradley originally from Portsmouth was saddling her first point-to-point
runner having taken on the training of owner Julie Butler’s horses. Laura
principally provides hirelings for hunting and hacking in the Alresford area.
Julie also from Alresford who is a well -known Farming and
Equine specialist Chartered Accountant has long been a supporter of the Hursley
Hambledon and she looks to have acquired a useful prospect in One More Tune.
Bought at a recent Ascot sale whilst Julie was on her iPad he had good form for
his previous stable so it was not a total surprise to see him win the race.
Rose Loxton sent out the winners of the two Open races
with Caid du Berlais winning the Ladies race and Monsieur Gibraltar winning the
Mens race. With principal rival Richmond unseating Lucy Turner at the third
last Caid du Berlais strolled home to an easy victory to give his young pilot
Harriet Tucker her
fourth career win and the first for Rose. The winner of the Paddy Power Gold
Cup in 2014 the horse had rather lost his way under rules and connections
thought that a spell of point-to-pointing might rekindle his enthusiasm.
Harriet who works for Paul Nicholls rides the gelding in her lunch break and
described him as ‘very keen all the way round’ and ‘definitely the best horse
she has sat on in a race’. A Hunter Chase campaign may be considered for him.
Monsieur Gibraltar ridden by usual rider Lorcan Williams
stayed on well to beat another former Paul Nicholls inmate Keltus by two
lengths in the Mens Open. Described by Rose as being ‘very laid back’ he is
ridden in all his work by Lorcan with whom he has an excellent partnership. He
is next likely to be seen in the opening Hunter Chase of the season at Taunton
with the Aintree Foxhunters as a long term goal.
Ballycash was an easy winner for Caerphilly owner/trainer
Emlyn Parry in the Restricted race partnered by Jordan Williams. Paying his
first ever visit to Larkhill racecourse the 66 year old retired teacher
explained that he does all of the work himself on the six year old Kalanisi
gelding bought out of a selling hurdle in June at Ffos Las when previously having been owned by Dai
Walters. Emlyn did say that he had been to Larkhill once before as a teacher
when he had brought a party of students to the military camp!
Martin McIntyre and trainer Richard Bandey then combined
to win the next two races the first being Fortune Bound for Isle of Wight owner
Anna Reed in the Club Members Conditions race. Described by his trainer as
being ‘mentally better’ than last season he had a tussle with Princely Player
ridden by Jake Bament on the run-in before winning by a neck. Having only won a
Restricted race last season this was a step up for the winner and he ought to
be able to follow up in an Intermediate race with the goal of the Intermediate
Final at Cheltenham being on the radar.
Trainer and rider followed up in the first division of
the Open Maiden when Irish Legionnaire also won by a neck over main rival
Swincombe Toby ridden by Lorcan Williams. Placed on several occasions last
season owner Mark Burton felt that his gelding deserved this success although
his ideal trip is still one he is trying to work out. Another who has benefited
from a good summer Mark explained that the gelding has bulked up and is now
The final race of the day, the second division of the
Maiden, was won by the unraced Coningsby owned and bred by Lady Cobham and
trained by Sophie Lacey. After Gracious Prince had led the field for two miles
the winner and the runner –up Three in One ridden by Gordon Treacy for trainer
Jade Barber battled out the finish with a length separating them at the line.
The winner who is a half -brother to Flights is the third generation that Lady
Cobham has owned with his dam Motcombe winning two chases for Robert Alner and
his grandam Cooks Lawn being placed in five hurdle races.
Next Larkhill meeting Sunday 7 January 2018
– 1 Race 12.00
AVON VALE RACES
The Avon Vale Races committee has launched an appeal to
fund a race for former committee member and Point-to-Point rider James McNeile,
who tragically died in a fall during this year’s race meeting on April 1
Led by James’s family and friends, the race will form an
integral part of this popular race meeting that draws together the rural
community in the Avon Vale country between Chippenham, Bath, Devizes and
Trowbridge. The race will be aimed at Veteran and Novice riders. Next year’s
Avon Vale Races takes place on Easter Saturday March 31.
In a unique funding mechanism, the race will be funded by
encouraging members of the public or those wishing to support the event to
become members of the James McNeile Fan Club, created to perpetuate James’s
memory and celebrate his Corinthian attitude to participating in sport.
Membership of the Club, to include newsletters and a draw for racing tickets,
costs just £100.
“We’ve been very touched by the support of so many folk
who turned out to celebrate James’s life at his funeral and thanksgiving
services, and through a multitude of letters, texts and other remarks,”
commented James’s brother Peter. “I hope this race will offer everyone a chance
to remember James’s positive attitude to life in a way he too would appreciate.
We hope to run the race for as long as there is appetite to do so.”
Jeremy Cottle, Chairman of the Avon Vale Races committee,
added, “James was a keen supporter of the Avon Vale, and this is an excellent
way to celebrate his contribution to the hunt, to the Point-to-Point and to the
rural community he served. We look forward to welcoming loads of folk to
Larkhill for a happy occasion next March.”
Contact: Peter McNeile (07850 091523)
is an annual Point-to-Point race meeting
staged by the Avon Vale Hunt at Larkhill Racecourse, near Amesbury, Wiltshire.
Whilst the Packway at Larkhill is now open again, the entrance via the eastern end by what was the old Golf Range, is still not definite. You CAN get in by car - although I would not advise it as the road is very very rough. There is a weight limit on this road of 4.5 ton, which will be of no use to horse boxes - therefore please DO NOT attempt to get to the racecourse via this route.
My advice would be either:
To use the Western Entrance on the West end of the Packway.
To use the main track in from the tank crossing off the A345. If you are unaware of this route please try the following:
On your satnav put in SP4 8AT - this will bring up my farm at Knighton. Please do not follow it totally otherwise you will end up in my yard!! You need to pass the end of my drive (on right) and approx 100-150 yards on there is a big tank crossing (marked with big metal poles with flourescent yellow tops.) Turn LEFT there and just keep coming until you get to the racecourse.
See you all soon.