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Avon Vale
Date: 01/04/2017
Pony Racing: No
Course: Larkhill Racecourse
First Race: 2.00 pm

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.



Meeting: Avon Vale @ Larkhill

1st April 2017

Race 1 – Open Maiden 4,5,6yo 2m4f:

1st: Eyesopenwideawake (Ire) 2nd: Midnightmistress 3rd: The Land Agent (Ire)

Runners: 5                       Time: 5min 19.5s                        Distance: 12l 15l


Race 2 – WAPP Club Conditions:

1st: Churchfield Champ (Ire) 2nd: Subtle Sovereign (Ire) 3rd: Count Salazar (Ire)

Runners: 4                        Time: 6min 06.8s                        Distance: hd, 1/2l


Race 3 – Mixed Open:

1st: Winter Soldier 2nd: Our Chief (Ire) 3rd: Trueflyingcolours (Ire)

Runners: 5                        Time: 6min 30.8s                        Distance: hd, 6l


Race 4 – Open Maiden:

1st: Magic Symphony (Ire) 2nd: Moreece (Ire) 3rd: Adeenne de Sevres (Fr)

Runners: 16                       Time: 6min 00.7s                        Distance: 15l. 8l


Race 5 – Restricted:

1st: Fortune Bound (Ire) 2nd: Anglingforcharlie 3rd: Queen’s Law

Runners: 9                        Time: 6min 13.2s                        Distance: nk, dh


Race 6– Intermediate:

1st: Woodfleet (Ire) 2nd: Awesome Tunes (Ire) 3rd: Dunn’s River (Fr)

Runners: 4                       Time: 5min 59.6s                        Distance: 5l, 10l


Race 7 – Confined:

1st: Perfectly Willing (Ire) 2nd: Quedillac (Fr) 3rd: QianshanLeader (Ire)

Runners: 5                           Time: 5min 54.1s                           Distance: 10l, 15l

Pony Results



The day’s racing at Larkhill was overshadowed by the tragic death of James McNeile as a consequence of an event which happened in the fourth race of the day. Sincere condolences are being sent to his family and his friends   from the whole of the point-to-point community for whom James had become a well-known individual. 

The racing itself had proved to be a day that Tadley trainer Richard Bandey and novice rider Bob Cronin will remember for completely different happier reasons. Richard, whose stable had been under the weather for most of the season so far, saddled four winners to break his duck for the season in spectacular style whereas Bob Cronin, 19, rode his first career victory. 

Richard started off his successes when Eyesopenwideawake made all the running to win the Open Maiden race over two and a half miles. Bought privately in Ireland from Aiden Kennedy the six year old gelding jumped well for rider Martin McIntyre and had twelve lengths in hand at the line. Richard paid credit to Sam Burgess who does most of the work with the gelding and added that he is for sale.

Richard’s next winner was in the Open Maiden race when Magic Symphony ridden by Sam Davies-Thomas was an easy winner. Owned by Mark Burton the gelding had been purchased as a three year old as a store horse and Mark explained that he had run some good races last season and had been unlucky in a couple of his races so far this season. This time there was no mistake and he had fifteen lengths to spare over Welsh challenger Moreece. 

Richard’s third victory came courtesy of Fortune Bound ridden by Sam Davies-Thomas who won the Restricted race by a neck with the judge unable to separate AnglingforCharlie and Queen’s Law for second place. Bought again privately in Ireland for Isle of Wight owner Anna Reed from Aiden Kennedy Richard described him as ‘quirky’ but has varied his routine to keep him interested and again gave credit to Sam Burgess for her work with the gelding. 

The final victory for the stable came when Woodfleet again ridden by Martin McIntyre fought off the attentions of Awesome Tunes ridden by Lorcan Williams to win the Intermediate. Bought at Ascot in July 2015 for Anna Reed Richard was speechless in the winner’s enclosure as he had never trained more than a double before and had almost despaired of training a winner at all this season. Anna was thrilled with her double and said that in her 19 years as an owner this was the first time she had had two winners in a day. She paid credit to Richard and his wife Kate for all their hard work with her horses. 

Bob Cronin who at the height of 6 foot four inches must be one of the tallest jockeys riding at present recorded his first ever riding victory when Churchfield Champ narrowly beat Subtle Sovereign in the Conditions race. Having only his fourth ever ride he enjoyed a good ride on the gelding who his parents Martin and Marie Cronin had sent over from Ireland to Kayley Woollacott’s stable where Bob now works. Previously he had worked for both Harry Fry and Jack Barber before starting with Kayley last November. Kayley described the horse as an ‘old pro’ and an ideal schoolmaster for Bob. 

The other winners on the card were Winter Soldier who just beat Our Chief in the Mixed Open race to give Ces Mitford-Slade and Lucy Fielding Johnson a welcome winner. Explaining that the gelding appreciated the better ground he may be aimed at a Hunter Chase with a possible visit to Cheltenham being considered.

Tim Sage saddled the other winner when Perfectly Willing was an easy winner of the Confined Hunts race for rider James King. Clearly the horse has a liking for Larkhill as on five visits he has now recorded three wins and two seconds. Explaining the reason for his absence from the course last season Tim said that his gelding had a thorn in his knee and had not been able to bend down for three months.