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Avon Vale Hunt
Date: 30/03/2019
Pony Racing: No
Course: Larkhill Racecourse
First Race: 1.00

Larkhill hosts its sixth meeting of the season when the Avon Vale hold their point to point. It will be another opportunity for all of the family to enjoy an afternoon’s racing as well as participating in a family dog show starting at 12.30 plus the usual trade stands, bar, bookmakers and the Taste Team who will be offering spectators a range of local produce to sample and purchase. There will be early bird admission at £8 until 6pm on Friday evening at

The feature race, the Mixed Open race, has attracted a strong entry of ten horses with Green Winter a winner at the last meeting being one of the main fancies. Now trained by James Ridley but still ridden by Zac Baker he should come on for his seasonal debut and might be too good for his rivals. Coco Live has improved rapidly this season and already has won three times at Larkhill this season and is going for a five timer having also won at Badbury Rings. The Last But One has been very consistent this season for Tom Malone but also holds an entry at Cotley which may be easier. William Money was a prolific winner last season but has yet to get his head in front this season. If travelling from Wales he would certainly come into the reckoning. High Hatton would an alternative ride for Jack Tudor but he has not run this season whereas Theatre Evening gave owner Charlotte Brown a tremendous ride in his Hunt race last week and will enjoy the faster going.

The other principal race is the second running of the James McNeile Celebration Chase for Veteran and Novice riders, underwritten this year by national sponsor Pertemps Network. An entry of fourteen horses has been received for this including The Last But One, Theatre Evening and William Money all entered in the Mixed Open. Johnny Farrelly has entered both Gingili and Victory Mill with the former having easily won a similar race at Ston Easton last weekend. Adrenalin Flight enjoys his racing at Larkhill and is one to consider. However Vivaldi Collonges has won two of these races already this season for his young rider and may be able to secure a hat trick for trainer James Owen. Top Chief is another interesting potential runner – a prolific point to point winner he was trained during last summer by Colin Tizzard and secured two wins at Newton Abbot and he might surprise some of his more fancied rivals. 

The meeting begins with a Confined Hunts race where the promising Raging Fire holds an entry. The winner of a Maiden at Chipley Park he was disappointing at Charlton Horethorne but may find the quicker surface at Larkhill more to his liking. He is inexperienced compared to his rivals so others to consider are Doctor’s Differ who has just had one run this season in January and will certainly like the better going. Bedrock Fred likes it as firm as possible whereas Victory Mill might be declared for this race rather than the Novice riders race and might be a sporting choice.

The Conditions race for ten year olds and over holds entries for Adrenalin Flight, Bedrock Fred and High Hatton already mentioned. Ballycahane ran well when chasing home Coco Live at the last meeting and a repeat of that form might be good enough. Dandan likes a faster surface and could be another one to consider in this open looking race.

The remainder of the meeting is made up with two Maiden races the first for 4, 5 and 6 year olds. Fran Nimmo has two entries in this race namely Breaking the Ice and Third Time Lucki who have both finished runner up on their debuts. Her chosen representative would be the selection. The other Maiden also contains two entries from Fran Nimmo’s stable in the form of debutants Imperial Hill and Might Flight and again her chosen runner may be the one to follow. Mahler Style has yet to run this season for new trainer Alan Walter but she has shown bits and pieces of form in Ireland in particular when finishing third to Swift Native in a Mares Maiden at Largy and if either of the debutants fail to shine she may pick up the pieces.

Larkhill Racecourse is to be found 5m NW of Amesbury, Nr A303, A345 and A360 – Postcode SP4 8QT. . First race 1.00pm. Entry Costs £10 per person, children go free

There will be early bird admission at £8 until 6pm on Friday evening at


Race 1:                        Confined 

1st             Doctor’s Differ (Ire)

2nd             Bedrock Fred

3rd             One More Tune 

Runners:            4                        Distances:            1l, ½ l                                    Time: 6m 07s


Race 2:                        Open Maiden 4,5,6 yr 2m 4f 

1st             The Champagnesonice



Runners:            1                        Distances:            l, l                                    Time: m s


Race 3:                        Conditions 10yrs+ 

1st             Dandan (Ire)

2nd             High Hatton


Runners:            3                        Distances:            15l, l                                    Time: 6m 6s


Race 4:                        Mixed Open 

1st             Theatre Evening (Ire)

2nd             Beggar’s Velvet (Ire)


Runners:            2                        Distances:            5l, l                                    Time: 6m 00s


Race 5:                        Open Maiden 

1st             Mahler Style (Ire)

2nd             Chapel Rock


Runners:            2                        Distances:            6l, l                                    Time: 6m 21s


Race 6:                        Conditions (Novice and Veterans) 

1st             Top Chief

2nd             Kinari


Runners:            3                        Distances:            Dist                                    Time: 6m 25s

Pony Results



Larkhill was bathed in spring sunshine and with the skylarks singing the Avon Vale point to point took place on Saturday in the presence of a decent crowd who enjoyed an afternoon’s racing albeit that horse numbers were affected by the low entry and the faster going. The family dog show and trade stands were well attended and on the course the highlights were a first winner for the promising Fergus Gillard aboard Top Chief, a second career win for Freddie Procter on Theatre Evening and a return to form of Doctor’s Differ ridden by George Hiscock. 

The feature race, the Mixed Open, only attracted two runners but until three fences from home it was not certain which of the two runners was going to prevail. Freddie Procter riding Charlotte Brown’s Theatre Evening urged his mount into the lead before the second last and drew away from his rival Beggar’s Velvet ridden by Amy Cox to win by five lengths. Trained by Charlotte’s sister Harriet at Mappowder near Dorchester Theatre Evening has been enjoying his racing this season and Charlotte put this down to being regularly hunted with the South Dorset by her. Charlotte who rode Theatre Evening to be third in the Hunt race last week at Milborne St Andrew was still elated after her ride but did admit that if she had been rather more race fit the result could so easily have been different. Harriet who was recording her first winner of the season was pleased to be able to give Freddie a winner as he has been helping them a great deal this season with the horses in the yard. 

The Confined race also went to a horse with a Hunter’s Certificate from the South Dorset in the form of Doctor’s Differ ridden by George Hiscock and owned by George’s father Dick. Last seen in January when pulling up he was found to be a sick horse and in order to give him time to recover he was rugged up and put out on the hill above the family farm during the worst days of winter and this seems to have cured him of his ills. Enjoying the faster surface he managed to hold off the persistent challenge of the El Tanner owned Bedrock Fred ridden by Danny Burton by a length and a half. 

El had connections with the walkover in the following race namely Thechampagnesonice which she bred. Now owned by Stuart Radbourne and trained by Mark Alston at Charlton St Peter near Devizes this was Mark’s first winner although he had hoped that this would have come from a proper race. The son of former trainer Eric Alston Mark has a long background in racing and hopes that the mare might find another race and indicated that an entry at Barbury Castle will be next on the agenda. 

Dandan ridden by Tristan Durrell and trained by Francesca Moller near Banbury upset the odds when beating the favourite High Hatton ridden by Jack Tudor in the 10 year old Conditions race by fifteen lengths. Tristan who works for Dan Skelton was recording his sixth career victory including a winner under rules with this being his first at Larkhill. Francesca who only has two horses in training described Larkhill as ‘ a very lucky course for her and her owners’ and added that her gelding relishes the faster surface which was a deciding factor in beating his much higher rated rival. 

There was another match in the Open Maiden race with Alan and Jane Walter’s mare Mahler Style ridden by Natalie Parker staying on well to beat Chapel Rock ridden by Nathan Vergne by six lengths. Bought privately from Tim Dennis Alan commented that he had been waiting for the faster ground for the mare as she had run most her races in both Ireland and England had been on much softer ground which he did not think suited her. Alan did add that as part of the purchase he would now have to pay more to Tim Dennis now that a Maiden victory had been achieved. 

After the departure of Gingili at the ninth fence Top Chief drew right away from his remaining rival Kinari to record the easiest win of the day in the Novice Riders race. Owned by Terry Hamlin and John Gardener and trained by Stuart Sampson he is the model of consistency and is hardly ever out of the first two. He has an enviable record of giving novice riders their first winner commencing with Jake Bament, then Christopher Barber, Rex Dingle, Bryan Carver and he added another name to that role of honour when Fergus Gillard secured his first victory. Fergus, 16, son of trainer Mark Gillard from Sherborne, rode 35 pony race victories before turning his attention to National Hunt racing and point to pointing. Now with David Pipe and under the tutelage of Ray Alford he enjoyed a trouble free ride on the gelding and looks a young rider to follow.