Secretary: Mandy O'Hare
Address: Collins Farm House, 55 High Street Durrington Salisbury Wilts SP4 8AQ
T: 01980 655556
M: 07789 544498
Entries: Point-to-Point Racing Company Ltd
by Telephone on 01933 304840 (with credit/debit card or Weatherbys Account payment), or Online at: www.pointtopointentries.co.uk
Entry Fee: £30 per horse per race
Entries Close: Monday 28th December, 12.30 pm
Races: Club Members Conditions - AGA Ladies Open - 5,6,7 & 8 year old Maiden - Mens Open - Restricted
The second meeting of the Wessex point-to-point season takes place at Larkhill near Salisbury on Sunday and if the first meeting is anything to go by racegoers are guaranteed an excellent day’s racing on a course which can absorb a huge amount of rain before the ground becomes soft. Five of the seven winners at the previous meeting are entered and it may well pay to follow the majority of these if they return to the Wiltshire course.
The meeting begins with a competitive looking Club Members Conditions Race with 29 horses entered. These include the good looking Mr Simpkins who won the Restricted Race at the Hursley Hambledon meeting and is one to follow but this is a rise in class and he may have most to fear from Ask the Weatherman, successful four times last season for trainer Jack Barber and champion rider Will Biddick, Maxi Chop who won his last two races for trainer Rose Loxton and the promising dual Godstone winner from last season Minerfortyminer for owner/rider David Maxwell. Robert Waley-Cohen, the owner of Mr Simpkins, also has Storm Lantern, a dual winner last season, entered and his chosen representative is the selection.
The Ladies Race is one of the series of Ladies races sponsored by Aga and the winner and runner up will automatically qualify for the final to be run at Stratford Racecourse on 20th May. A strong entry of 21 horses has been received with the highly consistent Alskamatic being one of the likely favourites. Richard Bandey’s stable star may have to give best to Join Together, second to No Loose Change in the Men’s Open Race at the Hursley Hambledon and Subtle Sovereign, unbeaten in four races for trainer Jack Barber last season and likely to be ridden by Bryony Frost. Rotablade, the surprise winner for Izzi Djivanovic of the Ladies Race at the last Larkhill meeting and Ray Diamond a good winner at Wadebridge for trainer Jackie Du Plessis and Ballypatrick a winner for Henrietta Knight at Fakenham and now back in her care for a point to point campaign are all others to consider but Join Together is chosen to benefit from his first race of the season.
The Maiden Race has been split at the entry stage with a total of 29 horses entered. For Division One those with existing form include Holm Hill, third at Barbury Castle, Wotzizname , second at Black Forest Lodge and Zephyr placed on several occasions for Nick Williams under National Hunt Rules come into consideration. Thereyarsee a close third at the last Larkhill meeting is selected to give trainer Sally Alner another winner.
For Division Two Overland Flyer who was placed in his only race at Holnicote last season has obvious claims as has Pauls Conn placed several times under National Hunt Rules for Mary Sanderson. The choice however is Brice Canyon trained by Kim Smyly for David Maxwell and who has been placed over fences in France the latest being in June 2015.
Join Together is also entered in the Men’s Open Race as is his conqueror No Loose Change. David Maxwell’s gelding is fancied to follow up but he is likely to be challenged by Robert Waley-Cohen’s runner from Storm Lantern, Rumbavu and Makadamia and Jack Barber’s runner from Buck’s Bond returning to point-to-point racing from Paul Nicholls and the fragile Keppols Hill last seen on a racecourse in February 2013. Impact Area now trained within sight of Larkhill for Harriet Waight (formerly Besant) and Third Chance trained by Sarah Gould come into the mix as does Big Fella Thanks successful for connections at Chaddesley Corbett on Monday and who would be a major threat if turning out again.
The meeting concludes with 21 horses entered in the Restricted Race. Porlock Bay, second to Mr Simpkins at the last meeting, has obvious claims as does Bonzo’s Copse an impressive winner for Sally Alner at the last meeting. The Barbury Castle winner Captain Probus and Castle Connell a winner at Brampton Bryan last season are others that come into consideration. However a chance is taken on Tackler not seen since winning a maiden race at Badbury Rings in 2014. Held in high regard by his trainer Marie McGuinness he would be a popular winner for his sporting owners and likely rider Sean Houlihan.
Larkhill Racecourse is found just NW of Amesbury on Salisbury Plain, easily reached off the A303, A360 or A345 (SP4 8QT). Admission: £10 per head, under 16s free. First race: 12.00 noon.
Larkhill Racing Club Members Conditions (17 ran)
1 Ask The Weatherman 4/7 (W Biddick); 2 Green Winter 10/1 (P Bryan); 3 Squirrel Esquire 10/1 (J Martin). 6mins 38s. 20l, 10l. (Jack Barber)
AGA Ladies Open (12 ran)
1 Alskamatic 11/10 (Miss C Hart); 2 Rotablade (Miss I Djivanovic); 3 Vasco Du Mee 12/1 (Miss J Banks). 6mins 39s. 4l, 10l. (Richard Bandey)
Open Maiden (Div 1) 567&8yo (12 ran)
1 Wotzizname 7/1 (M McIntyre); 2 Dunn’s River 5/2 (W Biddick); 3 Minella Selfie 10/1 (Ben Clarke). 6mins 49s. Distance, 10l. (Sarah Gould)
Open Maiden (Div 2) 567&8yo (10 ran)
1 Overland Flyer 5/2 (W Biddick); 2 Tom Barton 5/2 (Stan Sheppard); 3 Pauls Conn 12/1 (N Lawton). 6mins 52s. 8l, sht hd. (Jack Barber)
Mens Open (11 ran)
1 Impact Area 3/1 (Louis Muspratt); 2 Buck’s Bond 6/1 (W Biddick); 3 Third Chance 4/1 (M McIntyre). 6mins 44s. Sht hd, 7l. (Harriet Waight)
Restricted (13 ran)
1 Peeping Thom 8/1 (Miss P Fuller); 2 Bonzo’s Copse 11/10 (Stan Sheppard); 3 Captain Probus 4/1 (W Biddick). 6mins 45s. 5l, 5l. (Craig Pilgrim)
The most testing ground seen at Larkhill for many a year was a major feature of the meeting and a cloudburst just before racing started turned the area around the paddock and the number board into a muddy morass for racegoers. Fortunately the weather improved and the racing went ahead with the highlights being a notable victory for Impact Area in the Men’s Open race, a double for the Jack Barber/Will Biddick combination and a first winner for owner Charles Horton with Martin McIntyre riding the winner on his return back to point to point racing.
The opening race, the Club Conditions race, provided a comprehensive victory for Ask The Weatherman ridden by Will Biddick and trained by Jack Barber. Setting off in front Will set a searching pace for his sixteen rivals and the further they went the combination drew right away to win by a conservative looking twenty lengths. Described by his trainer as a horse who ‘stays for England’ he clearly acts on the softened ground and looks likely to continue to progress further. His part owner Paul Barber did not rule out a Hunter Chase campaign for him later in the season.
Alskamatic, the star of Richard Bandey’s stable, adopted similar tactics under Claire Hart when making virtually all to win the Aga Ladies Open race. Richard commented that the gelding had not been going well at home but saves his best efforts for the racecourse. He was chased home by Rotablade successful at the previous Larkhill meeting under his owner Izzi Djivanovic with the winning margin being four lengths. Plans for the winner are fluid at present with the possibility of a Hunter Chase being considered.
The first division of the Maiden race provided a first winner as an owner for Charles Horton a retired bank manager from Cloford near Frome. His six year old Wotzizname had the race in his control when his nearest chasing pursuer Thereyarsee ridden by Stan Sheppard fell at the last fence leaving him to win by a distance. Charles recalled that the colours carried by Wotzizname were those his late father John had when False Note ridden by the now flat racing trainer Bryan Smart won the 1976 Cheltenham Foxhunters. The horse was ridden by Martin’ Fly’ McIntyre who was having his first point to point ride since returning to the amateur ranks after a spell as a conditional jockey. He was the champion novice rider in 2013 and more successes look likely based on this performance. Fly did say that ‘the application of a first time tongue tie had helped the horse’ who had finished second on his three previous races.
The second division of the Maiden race brought up the double for Will Biddick and Jack Barber when Overland Flyer owned by Colm Donlon won by eight lengths. Bought as a three year old by the owner at Goffs in June 2014 he had been training with Dan Skelton but was too weak to race. Since running once last season he has strengthened up over the summer and he looks one to progress based on this performance.
The Men’s Open race proved a triumph for the locally trained Impact Area ridden by Louis Muspratt. His owner Harriet Besant married local farmer James Waight in May last year and now lives less than two miles from the racecourse. The only horse Harriet trains schooled over the cross country fences at Larkhill as part of his preparation. The winner was upsides Templebraden ridden by Peter Bryan when that rival fell at the last fence and he had to be kept up to his work when seeing off a renewed challenge from Buck’s Bond ridden by Will Biddick. The grey may next be seen in his Hunt race at Larkhill but his sights will probably be raised to Hunter Chases as the season progresses.
The concluding race, the Restricted, was won in good style by Peeping Thom ridden by Page Fuller. Part owned and trained by Craig Pilgrim from Shrivenham near Swindon the gelding saw off challenges from Bonzo’s Copse and Captain Probus to record his second win from only three races. Page recording her first winner since August excitedly said ‘he had jumped very well and surprised her as to how well he was going when they reached the top of the hill and despite making a mistake at the second last he ran on so well for me’