Secretary: Mr A Connell
Address: 9 Townsend Chitterne All Saints Warminster Wilts BA12 0LF
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Entries Secretary: Mr P Hodson
Address: Amphora Allington Salisbury Wilts SP4 0BW
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Entries to: The Entries Secretary or The Point to Point Racing Co Ltd (www.pointtopointentries.co.uk )
Entries close: Monday 23rd January 2017 12.30pm
Races: Hunt, 5yrs+ Open Maiden, Ladies Open, Mens Open, Intermediate, RA Members Conditions
First Race: 11.30am
The first of the Hunts that hold their point-to-points at Larkhill Near Salisbury ,the Royal Artillery, will be taking place this coming Saturday and if the meeting provides the standard of racing already seen at the course this season then racegoers are in for a treat. With 6 races scheduled and an entry of 87 horses spread across the races there should be some good sport on what is probably England’s premier point-to-point course.
The Hunt Members race which is scheduled to start proceedings at 11.30 may see the return of the locally trained Impact Area owned and trained by Harriet Waight. The winner of six of his eight point-to-points and two Hunter Chases he met with a serious accident at the end of last season and it is great to see him returned to full health and able to defend his title of a race he has won for the last two seasons. He will not have it all his own way this year as he may be opposed by Sidbury Hill the winner of a bumper and a hurdle when trained by Seamus Mullins. Now in the care of his owners Stan and Sally Rawlins his first race in a point-to-point will be watched with interest. Seamus Mullins owns two of the three remaining entries with Adrenalin Flight being the winner of six races the likely preferred choice of his entries. If Impact Area is at his best he should be too good for his rivals.
The Open Maiden race has attracted 16 entries and Gilliamstown already placed in two Larkhill maidens may go one better for Harry Wallace. Of the others that have already raced Flights was a promising second at Barbury Castle, Chester Copperpot was an encouraging fourth at the last Larkhill meeting, Alittlebitless was third at Cottenham at the end of December, Brandenburg Gate ran in an Irish point-to-point in November and Doctor Tiger ought to improve on his two races to date. Prince of Thieves was placed in two hurdles when trained by Anthony Honeyball and now in the capable hands of Teresa Clark a chance is taken with him on his point-to-point debut.
The Ladies Open looks to be at the mercy of Aikideau already a winner of two Ladies races at Larkhill under his usual partner Bryony Frost. Tom Barton ran well at the last Larkhill meeting and Vesperal Dream gave Victoria Pendleton a good second at Cottenham. Roberto Pegasus was second to Sharp Suit at Cottenham and Trueflyingcolours was an excellent third at the first Larkhill meeting. However all may play second fiddle to Aikideau who is in such good form at present.
The largest entry is 24 horses within the Club Members Conditions race and this looks a very competitive race. Lough Inch is unbeaten in two races this season and despite a three pound penalty will prove difficult to beat. Minerfortyniner won his last three races for owner/rider David Maxwell and is on the upgrade which is a comment that can be made about Winter Soldier who won two of his appearances in 2016. Apple’s Queen won a Maiden at the last meeting but this might prove too high a rise in class at this stage for the gelding. Jack Barber’s pair Athreeothree and Dunn’s River both fell at the last meeting and an improved performance is expected from whichever runs. The Flying Doc was a model of consistency last season and a chance is taken on Ed Walker’s mare to lower the colours of Lough Inch.
The Mens Open may see the return of Templebraden who won the corresponding race last season and if in good form may prove difficult to beat. Ceasar Milan was no match for Ask the Weatherman at the last meeting and is unlikely to meet a rival of such class in this race. Subtle Sovereign won at the last meeting and is in good heart and clearly enjoying his hunting. Legal Legend was only seen twice last season winning a Mens Open at Thorpe Lodge. Hincheslea Moor missed all of last season but is a course specialist having recorded five victories to date. Olofi has been a classy hurdler in his day and it will be interesting to see how he takes to point-to-point fences. Templebraden is chosen to repeat his success of 2016.
The Intermediate race concludes the meeting and if Lough Inch decides to opt for this race then the hint should be taken. He may be opposed by Thereyarsee who won a Novice Riders race at the last meeting and is in good form. Woodfleet is held in high regard by his trainer Richard Bandey and a prominent showing is expected. Athreeothree and Dunn’s River also hold entries in this race and the chosen representative may challenge the principals. In the absence of Lough Inch Thereyarsee is taken to continue Sally Alner’s good start to the season.
Meeting: Royal Artillery @ Larkhill Racecourse 28th January 2017
Race 1 – HuntMembers:
1st: Sidbury Hill 2nd: Adrenalin Flight (Ire) 3rd:
Runners: 5 Time: 6min 17.8s Distance: 2l
Race 2 – Open Maiden 5yr+:
1st: Chester Copperpot (Ire) 2nd: Princes of Thieves (Ire) 3rd: Everyday Hero
Runners: 6 Time: 6min 18.8s Distance: 20l, 15l
Race 3 – Ladies Open:
1st: Aikideau (Fr) 2nd: Tom Barton 3rd: Bedrock Fred
Runners: 7 Time: 6min 15.8s Distance: 6l, 8l
Race 4 – RAH Club members Conditions 5yr+:
1st: The Flying Doc (Ire) 2nd: The Gunner Brady (Ire) 3rd: Treacyswestcountry(Ire)
Runners: 9 Time: 6min 17.0s Distance: 2.5l. 3l
Race 5 – Mens Open:
1st: Ceasar Milan (Ire) 2nd: Brackloon High (Ire) 3rd: Legal Legend
Runners: 5 Time: 6min 16.3s Distance: 15l, 1/2l
Race 6– Immediate:
1st: Rye Cross (Ire) 2nd: Key People (Ire) 3rd: Thereyarsee
Runners: 7 Time: 6min 11.4s Distance: 8l, 12l
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 23rd 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.