The Home of Royal Artillery Point to Pointing since 1947 - Company Message
                LARKHILL TRAVEL NOTICE – JULY 2017 EDITION 4                                                                            

Works have started in Larkhill that will lead to the construction of a new roundabout on The Packway, and to the adaptation and connection of new and existing utility services.
The complete Eastbound highway closure from the Packway Garage to the Stonehenge Inn commenced on 4 July 2017. The Westbound highway will remain open until 13 August 2017.
Further works are planned to commence as follows:
•  14 August – 26 September 2017. Full highway closure (both directions) from the Packway Garage to the Stonehenge Inn roundabout (access to residential properties and the Packway Garage will be accessible via the diversion routes). Diversion routes will be clearly marked.
•  September – December 2017. On-going, traffic light controlled, two way traffic.
To provide safe access to the new Service Families Accommodation (SFA) development of 400+ houses and the new primary school that Wiltshire Council is providing to enable St Michael’s School at Figheldean to relocate and expand by 2018, the new roundabout and associated utility provision is required to be put in place prior to the commencement of the SFA build.
We apologise for the disruption these works will cause but we are grateful for the local experience and knowledge which has been provided to find the most manageable solution to the delivery of this substantial piece of civil engineering work.
Signage has been placed at various locations both on The Packway and on roads leading to Larkhill to forewarn road users of the road works and diversions have been put in place. Signed diversionary routes are via the A303.
Larkhill Garrison Contact:   Email -
The ABP has also erected additional signage down MOD roads in Larkhill to support road users affected by the works. We are grateful to Aspire for their speedy assistance with the creation and erection of the signs. Larkhill Garrison will be providing further

signage throughout the SFA estate. Durrington Town Council as part of the Larkhill Community Partnership are moving speed indictor devices from their main roads to the SFA patch to also help minimise traffic and any potential speeding.

If you have any queries that relate to the Larkhill roadworks under the ABP please email the address below. Please include a telephone number if you would prefer to be contacted by phone than email.
LARKHILL TRAVEL NOTICE – JUNE 2017 EDITION 3                                                                            

Works have started in Larkhill that will lead to the construction of a new roundabout on The Packway, and to the adaptation and connection of new and existing utility services. Offline works commenced alongside The Packway on 9 May 2017. Further works are planned to commence as follows:
•  19 – 22 June 2017. Stop and Go traffic controls to be used between the hours of 0900-1500 only for preliminary works for a proposed cycle path.
•  4 July – 14 August 2017. Complete Eastbound highway closure from the Packway Garage to the Stonehenge Inn. Westbound remains open.
•  14 August – 26 September 2017. Full highway closure (both directions) from the Packway Garage to the Stonehenge Inn roundabout (access to residential properties and the Packway Garage will be accessible via the diversion routes). Diversion routes will be clearly marked.
•  September – December 2017. On-going, traffic light controlled, two way traffic.
Signage has been placed at various locations both on The Packway and on roads leading to Larkhill to forewarn road users of the forthcoming road works and diversions will then be put in place. Signed diversionary routes will be via the A303.
To provide safe access to the new Service Families Accommodation (SFA) development of 400+ houses and the new primary school that Wiltshire Council is providing to enable St Michael’s School at Figheldean to relocate and expand by 2018, a new roundabout and associated utility provision is required to be put in place prior to the commencement of the SFA build.
To minimise the impact of these works we are closing only one carriageway for a period of time. During this time we can carry out most of the services diversions without total closure . However closing the whole of The Packway for a short period will enable us to complete major works swiftly including the significant reduction in road levels,

constructing the southern portion of the roundabout and completing the hard and soft landscaping.
The decision to allow only west-bound traffic during the single lane operation rather than only east- bound traffic will help to help minimise the delays typically encountered during the school summer holidays at the A303 Countess Road roundabout.
We have also ensured that the proposed works do not clash with the summer solstice celebrations.
We apologise for the disruption these works will cause but we are grateful for the local experience and knowledge which has been provided to find the most manageable solution to the delivery of this substantial piece of civil engineering work.
To further support your understanding of the road works and the impact this may have on you a series of public exhibitions have been arranged as follows:
•  19 – 20 June. Amesbury Library (Smithfield Street, Amesbury, Salisbury SP4 7AL). Representatives from ABP and Lovell will be available between 1500 and 1600 on 20 June 17 to answer any questions you may have.
•  21 – 22 June. Tidworth Library (Tidworth Leisure Centre, Nadder Rd, Tidworth SP9 7QA). Representatives from ABP and Lovell will be available between 1500 and 1600 on 22 June 17.
•  23 – 26 June. Durrington Library (75 Bulford Rd, Durrington, Salisbury SP4 8EU). Representatives from ABP and Lovell will be available between 1100 and 1200 on 23 June 17.
•  27 – 30 June. Sharp Hall, Larkhill (The Packway, Larkhill, Salisbury, SP4 8RB). Representatives from ABP and Lovell will be available between 1030 and 1200 on 28 June 17.
Notice boards with maps clearly showing the road works will be available throughout the periods identified above. A question box will also be available for those who can’t attend the sessions with ABP and Lovell representatives.

Please check library opening times before planning to view the exhibitions as these differ depending on location. We look forward to seeing you and answering any queries you may have.


Avon Vale preview
The sixth of the seven meetings scheduled for Larkhill is the Avon Vale meeting to be held this coming Saturday. All of the fences have been moved since the last meeting and the ground is currently reported as being good with rain forecast later in the week. A total of 87 horses have been entered for the seven races so there should be some very competitive racing on England’s busiest point-to-point course on Salisbury Plain.
The opening race, the Maiden over two and a half miles, has nine entries and of those that have run River Wye has the best form but has not got round this season. The winner may therefore come from one of the newcomers and of these Spooner Street from Tom Weston’s stable, Cereal Killer from Jack Barber’s yard and Eyesopenwideawake trained by Richard Bandey look of interest. The market and inspection in the paddock would be recommended before any selections are made.
The Club Members Riders Conditions race follows and may feature Full Trottle already the winner of the three races this season for owner Norman Thomas and Lough Inch unbeaten in his three starts this season for trainer Tommy Morgan. Tom Barton has won his last two starts for trainer Sally Alner and Subtle Sovereign won at the course earlier in the season. If Lough Inch is declared for this race he is selected over Full Trottle.
The Mixed Open also contains entries for both Tom Barton and Subtle Sovereign as well as the latter’s stablemate Our Chief who is yet to get round this season. Anquetta won at the Hursley Hambledon meeting in December but has not run since pulling up in January. Winter Soldier has run well in his two outings this season and is chosen to beat Tom Barton.
The potential biggest field of the day is the Open Maiden race for which 21 horses have been entered. Of those with form Moreece has been placed in his three outings so far for his trainer Jonathan Lean, Hunters Pres was still in contention when falling at Badbury Rings, Amber River has run two good races this season and Everyday Hero was an encouraging third on his debut. Silver or Gold trained by Richard Bandey has had two runs in Irish bumpers and is a half-brother to Golden Birthday, the winner of Bumper and a Hurdle race for Harry Fry. Richard also has entered Magic Symphony who has already shown some form. Hunters Pres is a tentative selection.
The Restricted race may provide compensation for Chester Copperpot who has unseated his rider on his last two outings but prior to that was an easy winner of a Maiden race at the course. Fortune Bound was still in front when falling at the third last at the New Forest meeting and could give Richard Bandey a change in his luck for the season. Of the others Cloudy Lady was second at Cothelstone, Bee Crossing won at the last Larkhill meeting, Teeton Power has been very consistent in her four outings this season and the same comments apply to the Sam Allwood trained Queen’s Law. Chester Copperpot is narrowly preferred over Fortune Bound.
The Intermediate race may see the reappearance of Master Tradesman. Successful already at Milborne St Andrew and Badbury Rings this progressive gelding is still on the upgrade and is one to follow. Awesome Tunes won at Bishops Court for trainer Ian Chanin but has now moved to Ed Walker. Storm Lantern has not been seen this season but Robert Waley-Cohen’s horses often run well at Larkhill. Woodfleet was second on his seasonal debut at Parham and Downbythestrand won a Restricted at Hackwood Park. Nicholasville and Dunn’s River were not disgraced on their last outings but Master Tradesman is chosen to beat his rivals.
The meeting concludes with the Confined race where Hincheslea Moor may give trainer James Young another winner. This course specialist ran well on his seasonal debut but did not appreciate the ground on his latest outing. Quedillac is another Larkhill regular and he has given Tom Doggrell some good rides this season. Perfectly Willing and Midnight Appeal are two others to consider but Hincheslea Moor is the selection.
Larkhill Racecourse is to be found 5m NW of Amesbury, Nr A303, A345 and A360 – Postcode SP4 8QR. First Race 2.00pm. Entry Costs £10 per person.



New Forest review
A gusty and cloudy day with the threats of squally rain showers was the weather that faced race spectators at the New Forest point-to-point at Larkhill. Fortunately the rain stayed away until the first pony race after the racing had finished. It was a day for local trainers with both Harriet Waight and Sally Rawlins training a winner each and Sally Alner securing another double. The riding honours were shared by Martin McIntyre and Lorcan Williams who both secured riding doubles. Lorcan who started this season as a novice with one winner to his name is now the leading rider at Larkhill after 5 meetings and must have a good chance of securing the best jockey award for the seven meetings.
Lorcan began the day with a very easy win on the Bill Dupont owned and Sally Alner trained Thereyarsee who won the Intermediate race by fifteen lengths. Supplementing his victory at the Larkhill Racing Club meeting in January Bill commented that ‘ this rubber stamped his ability’ and added that he was not right when finishing third on his next occasion. He is next likely to be seen at Ston Easton and perhaps a Hunter Chase before the season is over
Harriet Waight was delighted to be back in the winner’s enclosure when her mare Bee Crossing was left clear at the second last after the departure of Delineate and won the Maiden race by ten lengths. Describing her charge as a bit of a monkey at home she had shown ability on her debut in 2016 but had not got round this season. Bought by her mother-in-law Lucy at Ascot whilst Harriet and her husband James were on their honeymoon she is named after one of the crossings on Salisbury Plain. Martin McIntyre riding her for the first time indicated that the ease in the going had helped and described her jumping as ‘fantastic’
The feature race, the Timico Mixed Open race, was a good battle between There’s No Panic ridden by Will Biddick and Sidbury Hill ridden by Martin McIntyre. The latter looked to be getting the better of the argument when making a mistake at the second last but this hardly stopped him and he soon asserted with there being six lengths in hand over The Gunner Brady who stayed on to be second. Trained and owned by Sally and Stan Rawlins at Figheldean this was certainly a step up from the Hunt Race he had won earlier in the season. Sally’s reaction was ‘amazing’ and added that she rides the gelding that they bred themselves every day at home. Commenting on his rather lacklustre performance in the Coronation Gold Cup Sally thought that Sidbury Hill was ‘ missing his mate in the lorry’ and this time Adrenalin Flight had come with him (and finished second in the Novice Riders race)
It is rare that a Larkhill meeting takes place without a Jack Barber trained winner and this meeting was no exception when King Calvin was an easy winner of the two and a half mile Maiden. He had previously finished a good second at Milborne St Andrew but this time there was no doubt about the result. Bought by Jack at Ascot in 2016 he had run in Irish maiden races but following a wind operation he was given a very positive ride by Will Biddick and was never headed.
The Restricted race also run over two and a half miles had a dramatic conclusion with two of the eight strong field departing at the fifteenth fence and Fortune Bound when in the lead fell at the next fence. This left Swivel well clear of his remaining rivals and he was able to come veer to give James King a very easy winner. Owned by Jane Tufnell and trained by Axelle Wall the six year old Shirocco gelding is an unusual runner in point-to-points as he has won six races on the flat and amassed over £50,000 in win prize money when trained by Mark Johnston. He did not win when trained by John Ferguson and was allowed to run in a Restricted because he has only won on the flat. Axelle’s husband Mark did say that when the gelding arrived in their stable there were issues with his back but they have been sorted out and he now jumps fences well. Mark with a smile did add that he has a rating of 97 on the flat and could get in one of the long distance races at Royal Ascot which is quite some way from Larkhill!
Tom Barton supplemented his Badbury Rings win last week when winning the Novice Riders for Sally Alner and Lorcan Williams. He did veer away to the left on the run in but still had three lengths in hand at the line from Adrenalin Flight and Quedillac. Sally explained that there was not any really suitable races for her charge over the next few weeks and decided to let him run two races in a week which had paid off.

The two pony races followed with Daniel Ellis aged 12 from Bridgend winning the 138 centimetres race aboard Clear the Track and Luca Morgan aged 15 winning the 148 centimetres race aboard Pacman.


Combined Services preview - by Bob Bracher
The Coronation Gold Cup, one of the Classic races of the National point-to-point season is the highlight of the Combined Services meeting due to be held at Larkhill on Sunday. Traditionally always a competitive race the latest renewal will be a major attraction for racegoers and the card is supported by six other competitive  races including the annual running of the King’s Troop Race which starts proceedings at 12.00.
The Coronation Gold Cup which has reverted back to a Mixed Open this year with no penalties has attracted a high class entry including the prolific Aikideau already the winner of three Ladies races at the course this season, Master Baker who was narrowly beaten by Aikideau on his seasonal debut and again only just touched off by Posh Totty at Milborne St Andrew and Real Milan already a winner at the course and at Milborne St Andrew earlier this month. Other winners at the course this season include Sidbury Hill who won the Hunt race at the Royal Artillery meeting, Rye Cross and the Flying Doc. The most interesting entry who may make his seasonal debut is Current Event owned by Sheikh Fahad Al Thani and trained by Rose Loxton and who finished fourth in the Cheltenham Foxhunters last season. He may need his first run and preference is given to Aikideau to continue his fantastic record at Larkhill this season.
After the King’s Troop race the Club Members Conditions race follows which is open to Novice Riders and has attracted a good quality entry of 13 horses. The race may see the return to action of course specialist Hincheslea Moor who will have a new partner in the form of Bradley Paris-Croft having missed all of last season. Thereyarsee won a similar race at the Larkhill Racing Club meeting but disappointed last time whereas The Flying Doc would find this a potentially easier than the Coronation Gold Cup. However the one that will take some beating is Monsieur Gibraltar a very easy winner at Milborne St Andrew for his promising young rider Lorcan Williams and he is taken to follow up.
The Restricted race may see the return of Chester Copperpot a very easy winner at the Royal Artillery meeting for owner Pat Awdry and Stuart Penny and a repeat of that performance could easily see him in the winner’s enclosure again. Passage East won well at the Heythrop meeting and may be the biggest danger. Others to consider are the multi winner on the all-weather and turf Swivel now trained by Axelle Wall and Awesome Tunes, the winner of an Irish point-to-point and placed for David Pipe and now in the capable hands of Ian Chanin.
The Club Members Conditions Race looks an ideal opportunity for Facile Bien to continue his upward progression for owner Robert Waley-Cohen and his usual rider Sam Waley-Cohen. Already the winner of two races this season he looks to have more potential than most of his rivals. Others to consider are The Mexican Bandit who defied a long absence when winning an Intermediate at Black Forest Lodge, Thereyarsee who also holds an entry in the Novice Riders race and Crackacan who won two races last season for trainer Julie Pocock
The two and a half Maiden race confined to horses that have run at least four times without success looks a difficult race to find the winner. Lake Balaton finished close second in a maiden at Trecoed last June and a repeat of that form might be good enough. Give Us Peace, placed twice last season, is now trained by Teresa Clark and could be of interest as could Ballet Marbleless who might appreciate the drop in trip for sporting owner John Mead.
The meeting concludes with an Open Maiden race which has attracted the biggest entry namely 21 horses. Of those with form Carrignagapple ran well in defeat at Milborne St Andrew and must have every chance of going one better. Jack Barber has entered three with the most interesting being Clenagh Castle who Jack bought out of Chris Grant’s stable at Doncaster last year. This seven year old King’s Theatre gelding is one that may be open to improvement by a spell of point-to-point racing. Tom Lacey has entered the four year old Sky Pirate out of the three times winning mare Dancingwithbubbles and is one to keep an eye on. Another interesting entry is the French bred Clameur des Obeaux placed third in a Bumper at Le Lion D’Angers in May 2015.

Larkhill Racecourse is to be found 5m NW of Amesbury, Nr A303, A345 and A360 – Postcode SP4 8QR. First Race 12.00 noon. Entry Costs £10 per person.


Race Amendments
The Club Race conditions Race for Novice Riders (1)
Penalties, after April 30, 2015,
For each win in an Intermediate or Novice Riders’ race (of any type)….3lb
For each win in a Confined or Club Members race……………………….4lb
For each win in a Mens, Ladies or Mixed Open Point-to-Point race……7lb
(Penalties cumulative, max weight 12st 10lb)
Club Members conditions Race (3)
Penalties, after April 30, 2014,
For each win in an Intermediate or Novice Riders’ race (of any type)….3lb
For each win in a Confined or Club Members race……………………….5lb
(Penalties cumulative, max weight 12st 7lb)
This removes the anomaly that point to point winners before dates above were penalised, whilst NH winners were not.  I would like to give our thanks to Tim Sage for drawing our attention to it, and to BHA and PPA for their kind offices in agreeing the amendment.
I would also like to thank Tom Lacey for drawing attention to the fact that the 2 ½ mile maiden’s conditions have been substantially changed to assist last year’s maidens.  We recognise that they find it very difficult to find a race at the beginning of the season in which they have any chance against young newcomers, and hopefully the shorter length will help those a bit short of a distance.

The above three races have been very deliberately framed to provide opportunity for those with less excellent horses.  For what its worth we believe that the future of pointing in UK does depend on the hundreds of small trainers and owner trainers, who have always been, and continue to be, the backbone of the sport.

Notwithstanding the above, we are very proud to hold the Classic Coronation Cup, which reverts to being a Mixed Open.  We want the best for this, and hope that its prestige and history as a Classic, the prize money, the Cup and a special memento to commemorate Larkhill’s 70 anniversary, will combine to attract an excellent field.

Finally we have a Maiden and a Restricted with no conditions, which we hope will also attract the superstars of the future.  In so doing we hope that we have framed a racecard which gives opportunities for all.

We look forward to your company on Sunday the Nineteenth of February.

Royal Artillery review
The Royal Artillery celebrated 70 years of racing at Larkhill at their meeting on Saturday and produced a replica of the initial race card from the meeting on Wednesday 23 April 1947 although the price of the first card was not repeated as this was one shilling! Sally Rawlins will have fond memories of the most recent renewal as she saddled both the winner and runner up in the Hunt Race whereas there were smooth wins in the two Open races for Aikideau and Ceasar Milan ridden by Bryony Frost and Lorcan Williams respectively. The weather remained fine and dry throughout the meeting although the unpredictability of the local weather was emphasised when a sharp hailstorm hit the course for the final race.
Local trainer Sally Rawlins from Figheldean took the honours in the opening race, the Hunt Members, when Sidbury Hill owned, trained and bred by Sally and her husband Stan ran out a good winner for Sam Davies-Thomas from Adrenalin Flight ridden by debutant Matthew Fielding. Sidbury Hill running in his first point-to-point boasted some good bumper and hurdle form when trained for Sally and Stan by Seamus Mullins jumped well to beat his stablemate owned by Seamus Mullins. When Sally heard that Seamus was going to run Adrenalin Flight in point-to-points this season she asked him if she could have him to work with Sidbury Hill and Seamus was happy to oblige. The disappointment of the race was the odds on favourite Impact Area who had won the race for the last two seasons but he was pulled up two fences from home.
Pat Awdry has a nice prospect for the season on the evidence of his Chester Copperpot demolishing his rivals in the Open Maiden race. Trained by Stuart Penny and ridden by Katy Lyons the seven year old Flemensfirth gelding took up the lead at the thirteenth fence and drew clear from the second last for an easy win. Bought on the recommendations of Tom Malone at Ascot last April the gelding had finished runner up in Ireland in one of the Anglo-Irish races when ridden by Hannah Watson. When Pat informed his wife Jill that he had bought the gelding she exclaimed ‘not a chestnut!!’ Hopefully after this win her views have changed.
Aikideau maintained his 100% record this season when comfortably accounting for his six rivals in the Ladies Open to record his third course win this season. Confidently ridden by his usual jockey Bryony Frost he made all the running to hold off the efforts of Tom Barton ridden by Natalie Parker by six lengths. Described by his jubilant quartet of owners as a little super star he is thoroughly enjoying his racing and his work at home where he is always ridden by Jackie Smith who has been with Jack Barber since he started training in 2013 and up to this season has been his Head Lass.
The Flying Doc given an excellent ride by Will Biddick led at the last fence in the Club Members Conditions race and drew away from The Gunner Brady ridden by Zak Baker to win by two and a half lengths. Owned by the Cowboys (Francis Read and Roy Stewart) and the Cowgirls (Wendy Jarrett) the mare is trained by Ed Walker for whom this was his second winner of the season. Placed in a Mares Hunter Chase last season Ed indicated that this might be the long term plan for the consistent mare who continues to progress and looks one to follow for the season.
Ceasar Milan made virtually all in the hands of Lorcan Williams to win the Mens Open race by five lengths from Brackloon High. After two promising efforts, the last against Ask the Weatherman, there was no mistake this time and the first time applied cheek pieces certainly did the trick. The plan for the gelding continues to be the Grand Military Gold Cup in March where his owner Andy Stewart is a keen supporter of the race. Andy was at Cheltenham but his trainer Rose Loxton texted him the news about the gelding’s success.

Rye Cross won the final race of the day, the Intermediate, with another front running display under rider Ali Stirling and comfortably beat Key People ridden by Will Biddick by eight lengths. Trained by Emma Alvis at Laverton in Gloucestershire for owners Clive and William Bennett he was returning to form after having a year off with a tendon problem and clearly benefited from his seasonal reappearance at Chaddesley Corbett. William ,who was paying his first ever visit to Larkhill, was thrilled with the success of the gelding and advised that his father Clive was on the way to Ireland to see one of his youngsters and will have been sorry to miss this win.

Larkhill Racing Club Review
The weather played a major part in the running of the Larkhill Racing Club point-to-point with mist and fog clearing just before racing commenced but returning to envelop the course for the Men’s Open race and the Restricted race. That deprived racegoers of the spectacle of Ask the Weatherman spread-eagling a classy field for the Mens Open race and the drama which took place in the Restricted race. Jack Barber was the trainer to follow with three winners for his stable with Sally Alner successful with two of her charges. The riding honours were shared between Will Biddick and Lorcan Williams who both rode two winners, the last named securing his first ever double.
Ask the Weatherman set off in front in the Southern Counties Auctioneers Mens Open Race with champion rider Will Biddick determined to make it a proper test for his rivals. The winner of seven of his eight point-to-point races before this season he has been held in high regard by his owners Paul Barber and David Martin and trainer Jack Barber. He was briefly challenged for the lead by Anquetta ridden by Sam Waley-Cohen after the twelfth fence but galloped on remorselessly with his rivals trailing in his wake. At the line after the runners had come back into view there was eight lengths to spare from Ceasar Milan ridden by Lorcan Williams. Explaining his absence from the course last season after winning in January 2016 Paul Barber said that he pulled a muscle in his shoulder and it had taken him over six weeks to get over this. By then most of his targets had passed so a decision was taken not to run him again. He may have another run in a Hunter Chase before he takes his chance in the Cheltenham Foxhunters in March for which he will be, on this performance, one of the leading English hopes to lift the prize.
The Ablington Farm Ladies Open Race turned into a real battle between Aikideau, Dabinett Moon and Master Baker. Aikideau ridden by Bryony Frost seeking to follow up his victory at the previous meeting mastered the mare Dabinett Moon at the last fence and then had to be kept up to his work as Master Baker ridden by Jo Buck mounted his challenge. Shouted home by his four enthusiastic owners Aikideau held on by a fast diminishing half a length at the line with his rider saying afterwards that she was confident that she would win. As the leading horse in the Wessex area last season he has certainly started well in his defence of his title.
The Woolley and Wallis Restricted race was run in the worst visibility with eighteen runners setting off in thick fog. At the eighth fence Creative Inerta fell and brought down five of his rivals. V Neck ridden by Will Biddick who was at the rear of the field and managed to avoid the melee appeared in front when the field came back into view and held off the attentions of Queen’s Law ridden by Rob Jarrett to win by a length. Trained by Jack Barber for his aunt Charlotte Barber he should have been ridden by Christopher Barber but he was still recovering from breaking his collarbone at Chaddesley Corbett after Christmas. Christopher explained that the horse had been one of the last winners for his grandfather Richard at Bratton Down in May 2013 before having three races for Paul Nicholls and then suffering a leg injury. He then had been employed as a lead horse for the late Graham Roach’s youngsters before being given to Christopher to ride this season. Christopher did say that ‘it was very kind of Paul Nicholls to give me such a nice horse to ride and I am looking forward to riding him once my collarbone has fully mended’
The opening race, the Larkhill Racing Club Members Conditions Race, was another dramatic contest with four of the twelve strong field having departed by the eighth fence including the two representatives from Jack Barber’s stable. It was a former inmate of the Barber yard, Subtle Sovereign ridden by Martin McIntyre, who ran out a game winner from Squirrel Esquire and Tom Barton. Clearly relishing the change of scenery and enjoying his hunting with both the Taunton Vale and the West Somerset he has been rejuvenated by Teresa Clark and was securing his sixth career victory at Larkhill. Bought privately by the ten strong Notre Cheval Partnership headed by Phil Browne in July last year he has always shown ability but had looked jaded towards the end of last season. Teresa was elated with the success and put the change of routine and regular hunting as the main reasons for bringing him back to his best form.
Sally Alner’s double started when the former French trained Apple’s Queen made a promising English debut when winning the Open Maiden race under a polished ride from Lorcan Williams. Bought at Ascot in April on the recommendations of Felix De Giles he had been placed in a chase in France and had also run in a cross country race there. Now owned by a partnership of Nicky Turner, Percy and Anne Tory and first time owner Kevin Lloyd from Wimborne he is the replacement for Garstin. Sally who is recovering from a broken leg suffered the day after Boxing Day was ably represented by Ali Trim who has stepped up to take charge of the horses whilst Sally recuperates.

Sally’s day was brightened further with the success in the Novice Riders race of what was described as ‘her baby’ Thereyarsee caught the long time leaders Horizontal Speed ridden by Gareth Henderson and Posh Totty ridden by Ed Doggrell on the run in by a well - timed challenge under Lorcan Williams riding only his third career victory and his first double. Lorcan, 17, who hails from Amroth near Tenby rode his first winner at Ystradowen in Wales last April on Nicholasville and is now attached to the Paul Nicholls yard. Recommended to Sally Alner by Stan Sheppard and Andrew Doyle he has recently passed his driving test and has been able to take himself down to Dorset to school Sally’s horses. Lorcan said ‘I thought the leaders had gone off too fast and always was confident that I would catch them’, The winning distance was only half a length at the line with another three lengths back to the third.
 Larkhill Racing Club preview 2017
Larkhill hosts its second meeting of the season when the Larkhill Racing Club hold its meeting on Sunday. This is an ideal opportunity to blow away the cobwebs from the Christmas and New Year holiday period at a course where competitive racing is guaranteed. An excellent total of 117 horses have been entered for the six races and with the recent arrival of rain at the course the going is currently good and hopefully will be maintained prior to the meeting.
The two Open races look high class potential contests. The Ladies Open may see the return of Aikideau who was successful at the first meeting this season and should continue to do well in 2017. Trainer Jack Barber may however be represented by the tough mare Posh Totty the winner of four races last season and whichever one is his representative should be respected. However the opposition could include another determined mare in the shape of Dabinett Moon who was the winner of five of her races last season. Popaway is a third mare who is the model of consistency for trainer Pauline Harkin and who will have her supporters. However Master Baker was one of the most progressive horses from last season winning five of his six starts and is chosen to continue on his climb up the ladder for connections.
The Mens Open race is another high quality event and if the rain continues we may see the highly regarded Ask the Weatherman who only raced twice last season but was hugely impressive on both occasions. It is hoped that he will go on to contest the leading races of the season including the Foxhunters and this would be a first step for his targets for 2017. He will not have everything his own way as amongst his potential rivals are Sacre Toi, who defied a welter weight burden when winning at Cotley last season, Shy John who ran well at Barbury Castle when runner up to Iberico, Flicka’s Witness, the winner of four races last season and Jepeck who also won his last four races in 2016.  Teresa Clark may introduce Willem who has been running for David Pipe without winning and his performance should be noted. If Ask the Weatherman is declared then he should be too good for his rivals.
The meeting starts with an open looking Club Members Conditions race for which 21 horses have been entered. Jack Barber has entered Dunn’s River and Athreeothree both of whom were on the upgrade in 2016. Boygoesjumping will lack nothing in fitness having already won a Restricted race and has been second in his other race whereas For A Change won a Restricted race at Alnwick in December. Anquetta won at the last Larkhill meeting but has since been beaten at Chaddesley Corbett and Upto Ollie was successful in three of his races last season. However the two that may fight out the finish could be High Hatton a highly creditable third in the John Corbet Hunter Chase at Stratford behind Quiet Account and Lilbitluso and Tom Barton who reeled off three successes in 2016 including one at Larkhill and remains on the upgrade. Tom Barton is a tentative selection.
The Restricted race has an entry of 20 horses with Avidius Cassius having potentially the best form from last season. Placed in four of his six races last season he should be included on the short list. Others to consider are Creative Inerta who finished his initial season when placed third in the bumper race at Aintree, Themanfromcork who won his maiden at Larkhill in 2015, V Neck the winner of a maiden for Richard Barber in 2013 but not seen since April 2014 after three races for Paul Nicholls and Swivel the winner of 6 races on the flat but still eligible for Restricted races. A chance is taken with Emperor Arcadius who was very consistent last season but lost Katy Lyons at the third fence for new trainer Stuart Penny at the last meeting.
The Novice Riders race also contains an entry for Posh Totty and if this is the chosen race for the mare then she would be the selection. However as Christopher Barber broke his collar bone at Chaddesley Corbett she may not take up her entry. Thereyarsee improved last season and could be a winner for Lorcan Williams although he may have to choose between this gelding and Ceasar Milan who was running on in the third place at the last meeting for him. Horizontal Speed, the winner of 6 races for Philip Hobbs looks a good ride for Gareth Henderson and Many Stars, the winner of an Open race at Godstone for David Maxwell last season could run well for Kim Smyly’s stable. Blue Benny who is a first venture into point –to –point racing for Charlotte Stockdale who has been eventing last summer and was bought out of David Kemp’s yard in May.
The Open Maiden race for which 26 horses have been entered is a race where there is not much form to go on. Magic Symphony sets the standard and may put his performances from 2016 to give trainer Richard Bandey his first winner of the season. Bee Crossing for local trainer Harriet Waight was still in contention when unseating her rider at the third last at the Hursley Hambledon meeting. Newcomers to consider are the Robert Waley-Cohen owned Lucarno Express, the Jack Barber trained Ballyjim for owner Bill Dupont and the ex-French Apple’s Queen who has been placed in France and is now in the care of Sally Alner. Dynamic Island was the runner up at Alnwick before falling at the first at Chaddesley Corbett and might the one to give Magic Symphony the most to do.

I think that the 2015/16 season must rank as one of the worst weather conditions I have presided over – and that’s saying something after 2014!  We started reasonably well, but come the New Year, the heavens opened and conditions, mainly in the Car and Lorry Parks, got pretty bad.  I have lived to bless the pathway from Decs to Paddock this year!
HURSLEY HAMBLEDON.   A really good day’s racing.  The weather, misty and miserable to start but cleared to a sort of sunshine, AND NO WIND – thank heavens as the day before one was pushed to stand upright in exposed places!   There were 55 runners on the day.  The ground had been called as Good.
THE LARKHILL RACING CLUB.  Phew!!  What a day.  Torrential rain in the morning, taking the going to Soft.   A very wet first race, serious difficulties seeing through the streaming glass and mist to the course.   Thereafter (typical Larkhill) – the clouds parted and there was SUNSHINE – but too late for underfoot, wheel and hoof conditions.  Some really brilliant racing with exciting finishes and tussles for 2 and 3 – so those that braved the weather were amply rewarded, if somewhat bedraggled!  A total of 74 runners ensured no less than 10 in each race – but a lot of pull ups due to conditions and the horses not being totally fit at this time of the year – however, I would rather that than jockeys pushing their
mounts beyond their capabilities.
The Car Park after the LRC
ROYAL ARTILLERY.  Sadly not a huge number of runners at this meeting.  Only 56, which is unusually low.  Ground called as Good/Good to Soft.  A foggy start to the morning – but it burnt off just in time and thereafter a lovely day.  However, the ground was holding the horses quite heavily and there were a couple of badly winded horses down at the final fence – I began to wish we had a call for ground conditions of “Sticky”!  However, the times were better than the LRC.  We had to rope off the car park below the Queen’s Building to stop cars getting stuck – the lorry parks were still bad as well as the rain in the intervening period had been relentless.
COMBINED SERVICES.  I do not believe that anyone thought that the ground at Larkhill would go Good to Soft after the deluge of Storm Imogen the day before.  I had walked the course on Saturday evening at about 5.15 and the turf was soaked.  I went down to Fence 6 to investigate a battered wing and had to stagger my way back holding onto the course railings for dear life, was not sure I would make it back to the car – very frightening!   Sunday dawned sunny and clear!  It dried the ground out almost instantly – this course never fails to amaze me!  A keen thin little wind also helped (but made life a bit chilly as well).  The King’s Troop Race was a great success.  These horses (and jockeys) are incredible – to have done a ceremonial gun salute in Green Park on Saturday at midday, driven down in the wind and set off to race less than 24 hours later is an achievement in anyone’s book I think.  A steady and safe race, they nonetheless had a great time, if the faces of the jockeys were to be believed!  We had some amazing racing that day – the Judges forms do not really give a flavour of the day and of course Harriet Waight’s Impact Area was a hugely popular winner of the Coronation Cup.  The other horse that stands out was Tom Laceys Cirano de Sivola, who put in the most beautiful, spectacular and perfect jump at the last that I have ever seen – there was an audible gasp around the ground as it went.  A very poor showing of only 44 runners on the day was a disappointment – but given the weather conditions in the run up, maybe not a surprise.  The rain held off until the ground was emptying at the end of the day – and in my determination to be the last to leave (I always do this, just in case) I was the one who ended up getting stuck – will I ever live it down – had to abandon the car and ask Stan to come up and pull me out of a very tricky position jammed between the sleepers and winners enclosure the following day!
NEW FOREST HOUNDS.  A day that I am sure will live long in the memories of everyone who was involved!  Firstly the most biting north easterly wind made conditions challenging, to say the least.  The Pony Racing started the day – not well though, a very delayed start for the first one and then a child fell off going to the start in the second and lost the pony – we finally got both races done, but we were now in a rush!  We got through the first race but the second was chaos!  The ground although called Good, was riding fast – and they did!  So many pull ups and fallings off that we were very hard pushed to count them all in at the end.  However, it was the aftermath of this that caused the real mayhem – the Air Ambulance.  The Devizes one broke down, so they sent one from Bristol, but failed to tell us that they were doing so – we could have got another race into the 1½  hours they took to get to us – but lack of communication meant we did not do so.  They then refused to take the casualty.  So after all that she went by land ambulance to Salisbury (she is ok).  We were by now seriously delayed and the wind was taking its toll on everyone, it was freezing (NB that was the day I wore my boiler suit – so many snide remarks at the start, but by 4.00pm I had people sidling up to me asking where I’d got it!!!) and I note in my letter to the PPA that I say:  “By this time light was becoming a worry and all credit to my team who turned the races round faster than I had thought possible.  The Team worked a miracle keeping it all going and all of them (bar none) cheerful and jolly at the end, bless them – they are the greatest crew – frozen and knackered – but still joking, I’m so lucky to work with them”.  There was a loud cheer as the final horse of the Charity Race made it over the finishing line, we had done it!  I made myself deeply unpopular with the Gallopers that day by cancelling permission – it was 5.45pm in February, and getting dark.  After the strains of the day I could not face 20 odd horses on the course in the semi dark – it was asking for trouble!  A total of 71 runners went round the course that day.
AVON VALE HUNT.  No question a disappointing day.  An Easter Saturday meeting should have been very full but although we had had glorious weather the day before, the Saturday dawned (sort of) murky and miserable.  Very few punters – but as ever, the Avon Vale enjoyed themselves – all credit to them for the new Owners/Trainers tent which was a roaring success and the mouth watering smells of roasting pork kept most of us sniffing appreciatively throughout the day.  35 over the ground that day and a lot of pull ups but thankfully very few fallers.  The following day Storm Katie hit, we seem to have spent the entire season surrounded by dreadful storms, and when I went to check the course on Monday all the divots were full of water!
SOUTH & WEST WILTS HUNT.  The week prior to this meeting had thrown four seasons worth of weather at us in 5 days (including snow!) – but the actual day dawned reasonably and although the rain skirted us all day, none actually fell on us!  An entry of 71 was succeeded by a disappointing number of only 27 runners.  Although the ground was called as Good To Firm, the chalk below was still sodden, giving, in my opinion, good but fairly fast conditions.  Several very tight finishes ensured everyones enjoyment of the racing and the Hunt themselves had a good day I think.
Other than racing we have also hosted a number of other events over the year.  Our friends the Auster pilots returned for a fly past and then landed 8 aircraft on the eastern stretch of the course.  They were carrying a baton on the final leg of its round the world journey – and it was safely delivered!  This was only 5 days after the S&WW meeting, so we had some work to do in getting the                
course ready for them.  My huge thanks to Stan and Ned and John for working their socks off to get the fences down, course both mowed and rolled in time – it was a pretty tall order and I am just thankful I have a team who can put their shoulders to the wheel
when I have to ask them too.

Our next excitement was HM The Queen, who landed at the course en route to the 300th Anniversary celebrations for the Royal Artillery.  Much work done to ensure the place was spotless for her.  We had police and their dogs here for days, special loos brought in and it all looked great on the day.  During the run up we had the fun of watching the rehearsals – most especially the King’s Troop who used the lorry park to stop in!  Sadly Her Majesty got out of the ‘wrong’ side of the helicopter, so we didn’t really get to see her – but caught a glimpse as she drove past.
British Eventing were with us in April, the RA Pony Club held a very successful one day event and then a hugely successful Senior Camp, we have had weddings, dog shows and XC rides – in all a very busy summer!  Before us we have wedding parties, ARAHT, Hunt Newcomers weekends and several dinners and lunches to look forward to, before we start racing again in December.
Our new loo block is up and running.  Some teething problems are slowly being sorted out – but what a difference!  A light and airy space now with floors that are cleanable and we even turned the Gents into a shower room for Senior Camp – which was a huge success!  My thanks to John and Tim who have worked in some very bad weather to get this job done – I am sure people will think the work worth it!!
Our biggest news this year has been the RA Museum and Salisbury Plain Heritage Centre plan to build their facility on our ground.  This has caused some very strong feelings in all of us who use the Larkhill Racecourse for our events.  The Public Consultations saw literally hundreds of equine related people come out to make their feelings known – sadly the company had not been properly briefed and were in the main totally unable to answer our more pressing questions as to how this whole situation was going to work.  The RAML (Royal Artillery Museums Ltd) bid, for a cool £17.5 Million, to HLF then failed.  However, as far as I can ascertain, the plan is still on track to go ahead.  Lt Col Angus Cameron, of the RA Hunt, has been tasked with finding out about the equestrian needs for the site and is currently putting together a brief for the RAML board.  There are meetings planned for later this month to try and thrash out the details in a more constructive way.  I can, at the time or writing, give you no more news.  However, I will update via the website and Facebook once there is more to say.  Safety remains, certainly for me, the main concern – the public and horses do not necessarily mix well and there will have to be serious measures put into place to ensure that both are kept safe from each other!  Furthermore, it has taken 70 years for us to get the wonderful facilities we currently enjoy – I am not willing to let these go – we will need them to be at least replaced in full to ensure Larkhill remains a ‘flagship venue’ to quote The Times last year! 
Having said that, there are some points that would make our lives easier, the main ones being:  a road into the site, mains electricity – and hopefully a better sewerage system put in place – they are also looking at a much longer lease than we currently enjoy – and that would make the actual course safe for many years to come – given the influx of troops from Germany currently heading our way, and the need for much more training ground, this could be of help to us.
Lt Col Clive Bacon MBE.  Our Racecourse Manager for racedays has now left us.  He has worked on the course for many years and his bright red coat at incidents on the course will be long remembered.  I am hugely grateful to him for his calm manner during various times of crisis on the turf, his ability to marshal his team to great effect and keep the racing going under sometimes very difficult circumstances. I have travelled with him on several occasions and been very in awe of his ability to sum up and deal with situations in a split second.   John Hoare takes over from him – and has been given the red coat!!
Below are the dates for next season.  Not quite such a problem with the Military dates this year.
I much look forward to seeing you all in December for our first meeting of the 2016/17 Season.
With best wishes,
Suzie Vickery
Clerk of the Course, Larkhill Racecourse, Knighton Farm, Durrington, Salisbury, Wiltshire SP4 8AT
01980 655445 – home    07971 207153 - mobile
2016 Season Larkhill Specialist Awards
Best Horse
Impact Area  -  27 points
Best Trainer
J Barber  - 77  points
Best Jockey
Will Biddick  -  98 points
Best Owner/Trainer
H Waight  -  30 points
Best Owner/Rider
I T Djivanovic  -  15 points
Our Congratulations to the Winners of the Larkhill Specialist Awards for 2016.
  70th ANNIVERSARY - 1947-2017

Next year is our 70 Anniversary!  Incredible when you think how far we have come from the early days, and how successfully we have fought off various bids to disband us, make us smaller or just get rid of us!!
We hope to celebrate this momentous event over the next season, hopefully in slightly more clement conditions – I hope that you are all as proud of our course and what it has become over the last 70 years as I am.  We are the custodians of a proud tradition here at Larkhill and it is in thanks mainly to our wonderful volunteers and supporters that we are one of the best courses in the country – certainly we are the busiest!  Here’s looking at the next 70!!