The Official Point-to-Point Website for the Wessex Area
Avon Vale Hunt
Date: 26/3/2016
Pony Racing: Yes
Course: Larkhill Racecourse
First Race: 1.30

Larkhill hosts its sixth meeting this season on Easter Saturday when the Avon Vale holds their point – to –point. All of the fences have been moved since the last meeting and fresh ground should be available for the horses. There will be pony racing before the point-to-point racing begins. 

The Open Maiden is the first race on the card and Tom Barton looks the likely winner. Sally Alner’s charge has been placed in each of his three outings this season and should be too good for his rivals. Of those that have run Rediya was placed on her debut in better company at Barbury Castle and should be considered if she travels from Wales. Harriet Waight who has been so successful with Impact Area this season may introduce Bee Crossing a Fair Mix mare who is a half-sister to the prolific winner Harry Topper and her run should be noted with interest. 

The Mens Open might go to Tin Pot Man who has already won two races this season for his trainer/rider George Hiscock. Of his possible rivals Cecile de Volanges has only been seen once this season when unseating in January but boasts good form from 2015, Garstin who has already won at Larkhill this season and You Too Pet the winner of an Intermediate at Thorpe Lodge should all be considered. Subtle Sovereign has been disappointing this season but with a sounder surface he might run a better race. 

The Ladies Open looks a competitive race with several of the entries boasting good form already this season at Larkhill. Rotablade has already won at the course and was in the process of running a good race at Charlton Horethorne when falling at the last fence. Master Medic despite his advancing years always runs well at Larkhill and Seigneur Des Bois was an excellent second to Alskamatic before finding the going at Parham too soft for him. Trueflyingcolours is selected after finishing second at Badbury Rings and Hackwood Park to give trainer Stuart Penny another winner at Larkhill. 

The Restricted race looks to be between Treacyswestcountry placed at Hackwood Park, Miris Choice, the winner of a maiden race at Hackwood and Minella Selfie, the winner of a maiden at Badbury Rings. The last named is selected to continue the good form of the Ben Clarke/ Harriet Brown stable. 

The Intermediate may see the return of Cousin Pete to Larkhill. Lightly raced he was successful at the last meeting when beating the well regarded Innocent Girl and there should be more to come. Of his rivals The Flying Doc would be fancied if travelling from his Devon base as to would be Lough Inch the winner of the Conditions race at Cottenham at the beginning of the season. Marlpit Oak has been hurdling since the end of the last point-to-point season and comes into consideration. 

Lough Inch also holds an entry in the Club Members Conditions race as does Marlpit Oak. Tom George’s Coeur de Fou has been running well this season and might be the likely winner. Ballybough Gorta bought for Ed Henderson, younger brother of Robbie, to ride is an interesting newcomer. The winner of eight steeplechases for Peter Bowen he could be too good for his rivals if he strips fit for his seasonal debut. 

The Hunt race concludes the card with Subtle Sovereign holding an entry in this race. If he produces his form from last year he ought to be too good for Pasternak Jack and Skating Home who has been racing under rules up to December last year for Richard Hawker


Open Maiden (7 ran)

1 Tom Barton 4/7F Stan Sheppard; 2 Right On Roy 10/1 Jack Andrews; 3 Bee Crossing 7/2 L Muspratt. 6mins 32s. 3l, 8l. (Sally Alner)


Mens Open (7 ran)

1 Garstin 3/1 Stan Sheppard; 2 You Too Pet 6/4F P Mason; 3 Tin Pot Man 2/1. 6mins 15s. 4l, 8l. (Sally Alner)


Ladies Open (4 ran)

1 Seigneur Des Bois 5/2 Miss H Watson; 2 Trueflying Colours 2/1 Miss B Hampson. 6mins 21s. 15l. (David Buckett)


Restricted (4 ran)

1 Minella Selfie 5/2 Ben Clarke; finished alone. 6mins 38s. (Ben Clarke)


Intermediate (6 ran)

1 Cousin Pete 5/4 N Phillips; 2 The Flying Doc 4/6F J Newman; 3 Russian Empire 4/1 James King. 6mins 32s. 2l, 10l. (Elizabeth Brown)


WAPP Club Members (4 ran)

1 Lough Inch 4/6F Jack Andrews; 2 Virginia Ash 4/1 L Drowne; 3 Ballybough Gorta 9/4 E Henderson. 6mins 44s. 15l, dist. (Tommy Morgan)


Hunt Members (3 ran)

1 Subtle Sovereign 4/6F M Bastyan; 2 Pasternak Jack evens L Drowne; 3 Qianshan Leader 6/1 J McNeile. 6mins 39s. 20l, dist. (Jack Barber)


Pony Results

Prior to the point-to-point races Megan Bevan notched up her third win this season in the 138 cms Pony Race aboard Mayday Black Mink and Charlie Sprake won the 148 cms Pony race riding Goldwell’s Gucci. This was Charlie’s fourth pony success and his first in the 148 cms category.


Easter Saturday brought its fair share of squally showers and blustery conditions at the Avon Vale point-to-point at Larkhill. The highlights of the day’s racing were a double for trainer Sally Alner and stable jockey Stan Sheppard, an impressive victory for Lough Inch who had travelled down from Leicestershire and a first point-to-point winner for 17 year old Mitch Bastyan. 

Sally Alner and Stan Sheppard began proceedings by winning the first two races starting with the Maiden race in which Stan rode the favourite Tom Barton. Owned by the Four Dames Partnership consisting of Anne Tory, Diana Dampney, the Honourable Patsy Todd and Hilary Cox the winner was held up for most of the way and produced to catch the long- time leader Right on Roy after the last. Bought out of Peter Niven’s stable in September 2014 he has benefited from the application of a hood which has quietened him to good effect. Placed in all his races this season he was certainly not winning out of turn. 

Garstin made every yard in the Men’s Open race to secure the double for Sally and Stan and comfortably beat off the efforts of You Too Pet ridden by Peter Mason by four lengths. Owned by a partnership headed by Nicky Turner and including Anne Tory who advised that this was her first ever double as an owner. The winning gelding clearly likes Larkhill as this was his fourth career win at the course and needs to race right handed. 

Sally had hopes of a quick fire treble when she ran the veteran Master Medic in the Ladies race ridden by Natalie Parker. However after the 15 year old gelding was pulled up at the fourteenth fence Sally immediately announced his retirement and paid tribute to her gallant stable star. The winner of 4 chases under rules and 9 point-to-points and a Hunter Chase he has been a feature on the Wessex scene for several years and will be much missed. Seigneur Des Bois won the race in good style for Isle of Wight owner Anna Reed and trained by David Buckett. He was ridden for the first time by Hannah Watson who is a good friend of Aly Stirling the gelding’s usual pilot who was not available to ride. The winner clearly enjoyed being able to dominate the race and much preferred the sounder surface than he had previously encountered at Parham. 

The Restricted race was won by Minella Selfie ridden and trained by Ben Clarke. After Bold Cuffs had set off quickly Minella Selfie took it up at the thirteenth fence and was never in any danger and was left solo at the last when Mirs Choice ran past the fence when a well beaten second. 

The Intermediate saw a great battle between Cousin Pete and The Flying Doc. The latter led at the last but Nick Phillips conjured a strong run from Cousin Pete to win by two lengths at the line. Owned by Nick’s mother Scilla she was quick to give credit to her groom Dibby Brown who has brought the horse back to full fitness and connections are now contemplating a Hunter Chase for him. Unbeaten in his last three races he is certainly a progressive sort. 

Lough Inch made a 7 hour round trip from his Melton Mowbray base to easily win the Club Members Riders Conditions race. Paying his first ever visit to Larkhill trainer Tommy Morgan said ‘When it started raining I nearly pulled him out as he does not like the soft ground but I decided to let him take his chance. I had come to Larkhill looking for better ground’ Jack Andrews riding the gelding for the first time described his ride as ‘fantastic’ and ‘the best horse I have ridden’. Now the winner of 9 of his 12 English point-to-points he has been very well placed by connections having been originally a gift horse from Jonjo O’Neill’s stable. 

Mitch Bastyan secured his first ever point –to –point win when he won the Hunt Race aboard the Jack Barber trained Subtle Sovereign. Mitch who works for Jack was having only his second ride for the stable but had previously won an Arab Flat race aboard How Realee for Sue Herrod. Now owned by Jeremy Barber, Len Vickery and Robert Fear the grey gelding took it up at the third last from long- time leader Pasternak Jack and drew clear to win by twenty lengths. 

Prior to the point-to-point races Megan Bevan notched up her third win this season in the 138 cms Pony Race aboard Mayday Black Mink and Charlie Sprake won the 148 cms Pony race riding Goldwell’s Gucci. This was Charlie’s fourth pony success and his first in the 148 cms category.