Secretary: Alex Connell
Address: 9 Townsend, Chitterne All Saints, Warminster, Wiltshire, ba12 0lf
T: 01980 662529
M: 07771 503533
Entries Secretary: Mr P Hodson
Address: Amphora, Allington, Salisbury, Wiltshire, SP4 0BW
F: 01980 610764
M: 07790 660071
Entry Fee: £30 for a single race, £10 per additional race same horse (One car pass pwe owner or multiple owners only if SAE)
Entries Close: Monday 12th January, 12 noon
Races: Hunt - 5 year & over Open Maiden - Ladies Open - Club Members Conditions Race - Mens Open - Intermediate
Aerial can secure the win needed for Cheltenham Foxhunter qualification by taking Saturday’s Royal Artillery Men’s Open at Larkhill. The nine-year-old, winner of four of his 13 races under Rules for Paul Nicholls, opened his pointing account by trotting up at the Hursley Hambledon here in December. Opposition may include Arthurian Legend, unbeaten in six outings last season but a well beaten sixth here a fortnight ago, Exeter Hunter Chase winner and dual 2014 pointing scorer Bradley Brook, prolific winner Certain Flight and pointing debutant Cockney Trucker, winner of a National Hunt Flat race, a hurdle race and two steeplechases for Philip Hobbs, but now stabled with Richard Mitford-Slade and Lucy Fielding-Johnson, whose Raffa has already won three races this season. The Barlows’ Brackloon High was a good second at Barbury Castle before holding off the top class Harbour Court at Cottenham and may be the one to give Aerial most to do.
That’s Rhythm, who is unbeaten in his five completions between the flags, is fancied to belie his 15 years in the Ladies Open. Former John Corbet Cup winner and Cheltenham Foxhunter fourth My Flora, who is in her last seven point-to-point outings, Joker Choker, winner of four races under Rules when trained by Nicky Henderson, Aintree Foxhunter winner Tartan Snow and former useful Rules performer Act Of Kalanisi are four to consider, but That’s Rhythm is a confident selection.
Cockney Trucker is among the 18 entries for the Conditions contest, along with Garstin, a winner on last season’s corresponding card. Galway Festival winner Gate Please, Barbury winner Minella For Party and four-time winner The Wealerdealer are three for the shortlist. Subtle Sovereign comfortably held off Kazuri Kate here a fortnight ago and is selected to confirm placings.
Kazuri Kate holds an entry for the Intermediate event and must be considered if connections take up this option. Didmarton winner Legal Legend, Little Cornham – winner of five races for the now retired Charlotte Fear but now stabled with Keith Cumings – and Supreme Danehill, a good second to the prolific Raffa at Wadebridge in December, have chances, but Storm Lantern has impressed here twice this season and is an automatic selection.
Harriet Besent’s Deimne bids for a third consecutive win in the Hunt Members’ race, but Arthurian Legend and Seamus Mullins’ Combustible Lady look the two if facing the starter.
The Maiden race will be run in two divisions. Bandeirantes can give his supporters a run for their money in Division 1. Briefcase and Royalzaro are two suggestions for Division 2.
The course is found just NW of Amesbury on Salisbury Plain, off the A303, A360 or A345 (SP4 8QT). First race: 11.00am. Admission £10 per person, under 16s free.
Entries: 110; runners: 74 (67%)
Hunt Members (3 ran)
Open Maiden (Div 1) 5yo&up (12 ran)
Open Maiden (Div 2) 5yo&up (14 ran)
Ladies Open (13 ran)
RAH Club Members Conditions 5yo&up (14 ran)
Mens Open (5 ran)
Intermediate (13 ran)
Henley trainer Jack Barber and three-time national champion jockey Will Biddick combined to land a treble at Larkhill on Saturday. Aerial (Men’s Open), Subtle Sovereign (Conditions race) and Bandeirantes (first Maiden) provided the pair’s three successes.
The former put in a superb round of jumping to secure the win needed for Cheltenham Foxhunter qualification. “We’re still not certain whether to go for the Cheltenham or Aintree Foxhunter, although he still needs to be placed in a Hunter Chase to qualify for the latter,” said joint-owner Tony Hayward. “It’s possible he’ll go straight to Cheltenham, but if the ground’s soft there, we’ll have a rethink. He jumps for England and has hardly ever made a mistake in his life, although he did once fall at a bullfinch fence in France when distracted by another horse. I’d actually love to see him tackling the Aintree fences.”
Course specialist Subtle Sovereign raced prominently throughout before registering his fourth Larkhill success. “What a horse,” beamed Jack, clearly recalling that Subtle Sovereign was his first winner as a trainer and last as a jockey. “He’ll win Open races but we’ll avoid them as long as possible to avoid picking up weight penalties.”
Bandeirantes made an impressive racecourse debut by collaring favourite Cooladerry King at the last. “He’s our first homebred and our first outright winner as owners, although we and Brett Parsons were joint owners of Willow Ryde when he won this corresponding race in 2006,” confided Glastonbury owners Hugh and Liz Webster.
Cooladerry King’s Shropshire trainer Sheila Crow and jockey Paddy Gerety went one better when Mr Mercurial had sufficient reserves to take the Intermediate after leading into the straight. “He’ll go Hunter Chasing and I can see him in the Cheltenham Foxhunter one day, although maybe not this year,” said Sheila. “Paddy says he blew up but still had the class to get home. These are my first runners of the season and we’ve come here as, regrettably, our North West season doesn’t start until March.”
That’s Rhythm belied his 15 years with a brilliant performance in a top quality ladies’ open. Prominently ridden by Page Fuller, That’s Rhythm stormed clear of his field in the straight. The winner, who has won five races between the flags and seven hunter chases, will be campaigned in point-to-points according to trainer Charlotte Fuller, mother of the winning rider.
Briefcase put in a magnificent round of jumping to take the second maiden for the Edwards family. Ridden by Darren Edwards and owned and trained at Wheddon Cross by Darren’s father, Gordon, Briefcase had finished runner-up in five of his 20 hurdle races, so was certainly not winning out of turn.
“Outsider of three” punters were rewarded when Harriet Besent’s Impact Zone took the Hunt race under former conditional Louis Muspratt. Harriet made the running aboard her 2013 and 2014 corresponding race winner Deimne before Seamus Mullins’ odds-on favourite Combustible Lady led at the 13th, but neither had any answer when Louis pressed the button at the third last fence.