LARKHILL RACING CLUB – Sunday 7th January 2018
Secretary: Mrs Mandy O'Hare
Address: Collins Farmhouse, 55 High St, Durrington, Salisbury, Wilts, SP4 8AQ
Contact Details Tel: 01980 655556 Mob: 07789 544498
Entries to: The Secretary or The Point to Point Racing Co Ltd
Entries close: Monday 1st January 2018 12.30pm
Races: LRC Conditions, Ladies Open, 5 years + Maiden, Mens Open, Restricted, LRC Novice Riders
First Race: 11.00
The first meeting of 2018 at Larkhill has been rewarded with a huge entry of 193 horses which has resulted in two of the six races being split at entry and the first race time has been brought forward to 11.00am. The going is currently reported as being good so there is a high expectation that there will be a large turn- out of runners on the day. The quality of the racing will be high with both Open races looking very competitive so if you are looking for somewhere to finally blow away the Christmas and New Year cobwebs then Salisbury Plain is just the place. Do make sure to wrap up warm as the weather can be challenging at Larkhill but access is good with plenty of room for parking and an excellent view of the racecourse from the car park.
The Club Conditions race which starts proceedings at 11.00am has already been divided into two races and on the basis of this season’s form Chasforgold a winner at Barbury Castle for Sam Jukes looks likely to be the one to support. Others to consider are the Philip Rowley trained Namako winner of three of his races last season, Flights who should come on for her run at Barbury Castle, Sonny the One trained by Will Biddick who was not disgraced at Wadebridge and Cousin Pete who on his best form from two seasons ago would be a leading player.
The second division of the Club Conditions race may go to Princely Player who only went down by a neck in a similar race at the last Larkhill meeting. As he was having his first race for nearly a year Karen Hobbs’s gelding is entitled to improve on that outing. Potential dangers are the veteran Colbert Station winner of five races when owned by J P McManus, Pink Eyed Pedro who will improve for his seasonal debut at Wadebridge, Templebraden who ran in Open races last season and Superior Fire who was very consistent last season.
The Ladies Open race sponsored by We Do Vans.Com could see an exciting race with the winner from the previous Larkhill meeting Caid du Berlais set to be opposed by course specialist Aikideau who will be ridden by new jockey Aine O’Connor for trainer Jade Barber. Added to the mix are the Cheltenham Hunter Chase winner Woodfleet, the prolific Dicky Bob who will be partnered by Jo Supple (nee Buck), the Stratford Ladies Hunter Chase winner Dabinett Moon and the enigmatic Sybarite as well as Big Casino who was third in the highly competitive Mixed Open at Barbury Castle. A race worth savouring Woodfleet is tentatively chosen to continue his upward curve.
The Open Maiden sponsored by Cottage Field Stables is the other race that has already been divided at entry. The first division may go to Danseur du Large already placed in two Maiden races this season for trainer Ed Walker but the sponsor’s entry of Energumene should be noted as the trainer does have a good record with newcomers. Others to consider are Toby Maguire placed fourth in an Irish Maiden and now with Charles Levinson, Oscars Cross a half-brother to the prolific Giles Cross and Troed Y Melin already placed in four Maiden races.
Division Two of the Maiden race features both of the runners up from the two Maiden races at the December meeting. Swincombe Toby from Sally Alner’s stable and Three in One from Jade Barber’s yard may fight out the finish between them with the former tipped to come out on top. However Sophie Lacey’s newcomer Sebastopol out of a six time winning mare may be the one to watch along with the ex- Dan Skelton trained Dragon De La Tour and the ex -Irish Marcle Ridge who finished second in his only start to date.
The Mens Open race sponsored by Southern Counties Auctioneers has attracted the biggest entry of 34 horses. Another high quality race is promised here with the standout entries being the prolific Broken Eagle from Alan Hill’s yard, the very promising Facile Bien owned by Robert Waley-Cohen, the consistent Premier Portrait and the winner of last season’s Coronation Gold Cup Brackloon High. Monsieur Gibraltar won well at the last meeting and may put his fitness to good use. Real Milan usually runs well at Larkhill and if Woodfleet opts for this race rather than the Ladies then the hint should be taken.
The Restricted race sponsored by Woolley and Wallis looks a difficult race to solve. Irish Legionnaire broke his Maiden status at the last meeting and should improve. Both Ka Maresco and Baltazar du Seuil won their last outings in 2017 at Kingston Blount and Upcott Cross respectively and are also on the upgrade. Vouvray won a point in Ireland in November 2016 before being sold very cheaply last August. Castle Cheetah had some good form when trained by Ben Pauling in 2016 but has not been seen since and Lively Article the winner of a Maiden at Brafield-on-the-Green both come into consideration. A chance is taken with the lightly raced Florella who was placed in two Restricted races last season for trainer Nick Pearce.
The Novice Riders race sponsored by Symonds and Sampson with Frome Livestock Auctioneers completes the day’s racing. Real Milan if bypassing the Mens Open looks one for the shortlist along with Top Chief who does well in these races, Creepy who won three races last season and the ex-Tim Underwood trained Too Late To Sell who won three races last season. Thereyarsee runs well at Larkhill and will have a new rider in Gordon Tracy who works for Jade Barber and this combination might be the answer to a tricky event.
Larkhill Racecourse is to be found 5m NW of Amesbury, Nr A303, A345 and A360 – Postcode SP4 8QT. First Race 11.00 am. Entry Costs £10 per person.
Conditions Race (Division 1)
13 Ran Head and 8 lengths
Conditions Race (Division 2)
15 Ran 10 lengths and 2 lengths
Ladies Open Race
11 Ran 2 lengths and 3 lengths
Open Maiden Race (Division 1)
18 Ran 2 lengths and 4 lengths
Open Maiden Race (Division 2 – Part 1)
Race Void – 10 Ran
Open Maiden Race (Division 2 – Part 2)
9 Ran 12 lengths and 2 lengths
Mens Open Race
19 Ran 6 lengths and 10 lengths
3 Call Me Ben – Miss E Yardley – 50-1
18 Ran – Dead Heat and 10 lengths
Novice Riders Conditions Race
1 L’Eldorado – Miss M Micklewright – 16-1
2 Tolkeins Tango – C O’Shea – 25-1
3 Real Milan – Jack Jones – 2-1F
14 Ran ½ length and Neck
A huge turn- out of runners was the feature of the Larkhill Racing Club meeting where a very chilly wind blew across Salisbury Plain and encouraged racegoers to seek warmth at every opportunity. However the racing was of a very high standard and this certainly kept those who had braved the elements to the end of a total of nine races. The highlights were a scintillating return to form of Cousin Pete in the Mens Open race, a double for owner Clive Bennett and his rider Sam Jukes, a double for owner Tom Lacey and his rider Tommie O’Brien and a first riding success for Meisha Micklewright on her first ever ride.
The day began with a narrow victory for Chasforgold owned by Clive Bennett, trained by Emma Alvis and ridden by Sam Jukes in the first division of the Conditions Race. Boygojumping ridden by George Hiscock had outjumped his rival and looked the likely winner but Chasforgold does stay well and he responded to his rider’s urgings to get up on the line to win by a head. He is likely to stay point-to-pointing for at least most of the season.
The second division of the Conditions race was won impressively by the David Brace owned and trained Pink Eyed Pedro ridden by his promising grandson Connor Brace. Sired by the late Dr Massini who used to stand at Dunraven Stud out of a mare called Poacher’s Paddy David reported that the dam is in now in foal to his other stallion Mountain High. Pink Eyed Pedro always wears a hood to keep him calm and travels both to and from the races in it.
The Ladies race was a high quality event with Caid du Berlais stamping his class on the eleven strong field. Successful at the previous meeting this was a much stronger race with several of his rivals boasting wins in Hunter Chases and Steeplechases but the result was the same with the former Paddy Power Gold Cup winner outstaying Dabinett Moon and Dicky Bob. Trained by Rose Loxton at Ditcheat and ridden by Harriet Tucker who works for Paul Nicholls the nine year old has rekindled his enthusiasm for racing and being in a much smaller yard he is enjoying the change of routine. Rose does not know whether he might be returning back to the National Hunt yard but hopes not!
The first division of the Maiden was a maximum field of 18 horses and the youngest horse in the field came out on top. Tom Lacey often introduces a promising sort at this meeting and the vibes about Energumene proved correct with the gelding running out a two length winner under Tommie O’Brien. By the same stallion (Denham Red) as Un de Sceaux he was bought by Tom as a 3 year old at the Tattersalls Derby sale for 50K Euros. Only born on 13th June 2014 Tom described him as very straightforward to train and ‘as the nicest four year old I have trained to date’. It will be interesting to see if he heads for the sales or is kept in training by Tom.
The second division was split on the day but the first part of the race was declared void for safety reasons as there was an injured horse on the bend approaching the last fence. At the time before the race was abandoned Arcal Fifty ridden by Jamie Thomas and Swincombe Toby ridden by Lorcan Williams and trained by Sally Alner were duelling for the lead and would probably have fought out the finish.
The second part of the race proved to be the second winner on the day for Tom Lacey and his rider Tommie O’Brien with another newcomer Sebastopol. After Elizabeth’s Wish had fallen at the third last the winner and Three in One trained by Jade Barber had the race between them but the four year old pulled away on the run in to win by twelve lengths. Bought this time at the Goffs Landrover June sale for 52K Euros the dam Knockcroghery had won six races in total on the flat and over hurdles in a long career and this gelding is her first progeny. By Fame and Glory and this time born in May 2014 Tom described him as a ‘real athlete’ and another exciting prospect for the future.
The Mens Open race attracted another huge field of 19 horses with numerous previous winners in the line -up. Monsieur Gibraltar was fancied to follow up his success at the previous meeting but he could not cope with a resurgent Cousin Pete trained by Elizabeth ‘Dibby’ Brown and ridden by Nick Phillips. Unbeaten in point to points in 2016 and the winner of a Hunter Chase at Cheltenham in April of that year his form last season consisted on two non- completions and all was clearly not well. After much time and investigation an allergy to straw was found to be one factor and he now lives on shavings. Although he came back into work in August he has been living in a field up to Boxing Day to get the benefit of fresh air. Clearly back to his best on this evidence connections are considering a tilt at the Cheltenham Foxhunters for their home bred Kayf Tara gelding.
Another maximum field of 18 took part in the Restricted race and this time the judge could not separate Irish Legionnaire and The Well Road declaring it a dead heat at the winning post. The former owned by Mark Burton who missed the victory as he was in Shanghai was supplementing his win at the previous meeting. The latter owned by Clive Bennett and ridden by Sam Jukes was recording his first victory in England having been owned patiently by Clive for 3 years. Explaining that the horse had undergone a tie forward operation last year to improve his breathing his performance bodes well for the rest of the campaign.
There was a fairy-tale ending to the final race the Novice Riders Conditions when in a close finish between Real Milan, Tolkeins Tango and L’Eldorado the last named prevailed to give 24 year old Meisha Micklewright a first winner on her debut ride. Originally from near Tiverton Meisha is a vet student in London in her final three months and this was a dream come true for her. Usually ridden by Tom Chatfeild-Roberts the winner who is now 13 was considered a suitable ride for a novice and so it turned out to be. Trained by Chris Bealby at Grantham for owner John Chatfeild-Roberts it was Chris’s first visit to Larkhill since his days with Nicky Henderson back in 1981 and when asked what instructions he gave to Meisha on her ride it was ‘ to go and enjoy herself and remember to breathe’