Secretary: Mr A Connell
Address: 9 Townsend Chitterne All Saints Warminster Wilts BA12 0LF
Contact Details Tel: 01980 662529 Mob: 07771 503533
Entries Secretary: Mr P Hodson
Address: Amphora Allington Salisbury Wilts SP4 0BW
Contact Details: Tel: 01980 610764 Mob: 07790 660071
Entries to: The Entries Secretary or The Point to Point Racing Co Ltd (www.pointtopointentries.co.uk )
Entries close: Monday 13th January 2020 12.30pm
Races: 4yr 5yr Flat, Restricted, Hunt, 5yrs+ Conditions, Mixed Open, Intermediate, RA Novice Conditions
First Race: 11.30pm
The third meeting scheduled for Larkhill this season will be held this coming Saturday when the Royal Artillery hold their meeting. Although the entries for the seven races (77) do not reach the heady heights of the first two meetings there will still be some very competitive racing at the busiest point to point racecourse in the country. All the fences have been moved since the Larkhill Racing Club meeting so there will be fresh ground to race on and the latest going report is for good ground despite the rain forecast for this week. There is a very competitive Mixed Open race which is the highlight of the card and the meeting ends with the first ever running of a Flat race over 2 miles for four and five year olds at Larkhill.
The Mixed Open may see the return of Monsieur Gibraltar to point to point racing. The leading horse at Larkhill last season he was sold to David Maxwell during 2019 and was campaigned solely in Hunter Chases thereafter. He holds an entry at Ludlow on Thursday in the Hunter Chase but he is one of three that David Maxwell can choose from but if he opts for one of his other entries then this may be his seasonal debut. He has a great record at Larkhill and is the obvious choice. Rose Loxton has also entered Caid Du Berlais but he is more likely to go to Buckfastleigh the following day. Of the other likely rivals for Monsieur Gibraltar Green Winter is the most dangerous. Already a Larkhill specialist he ran an eye catching seasonal debut when a fast finishing second to Shantou Flyer and ought to improve for that run. Brackloon High is another with Larkhill victories to his name including two Coronation Gold Cups but he is now at the veteran stage and might find this too hot. Clive Bennett has two entries namely ChasforGold and Marcle Ridge with the last named the preferred of the pair.
The meeting opens at 11.30 with the Royal Artillery Hunt race. Last year’s winner Adrenalin Flight is one of five entries and is likely to be partnered by Charlie Pike who works for owner Seamus Mullins. He might have to give best to Coco Live who missed an engagement at the Larkhill Racing Club meeting with a small cut incurred on the day. He fought out a duel with the progressive Salvatore in December and on that form ought to be too good for his rivals. Rakasba would be a poignant winner as his owner Jane Bailey, the widow of the late Peter Bailey, has recently died having been a supporter of the Royal Artillery and point to pointing over many years.
The Open Maiden for five year olds and upwards might provide Wykham with an opening to break his duck. A very promising fourth at the last meeting this homebred owned by Robert Waley-Cohen is out of a mare called Liberthine who won the Topham at Aintree in 2006. He may be opposed by several rivals whose last appearance were in point to points in Ireland including Song of the Hunter, placed twice and is now in the care of Tom Malone and the likely mount of Will Biddick. Others to consider are Naughty Gnome now with Bea Coward, Famous Clermont now in the care of Christopher Barber and Byzantium Lad who had a promising fourth at Cottenham last month. He may be the one to give Wykham the most to do.
The Novice Riders race may be the preferred option for Adrenalin Flight and this looks potentially easier than the Hunt race. Thereyarsee was third in a similar race at the last meeting and that improved form with Spanish Arch a fast finishing fourth in the same race. Storm Lantern often runs well at Larkhill and comes into consideration as does the veteran Huff and Puff previously trained by Venetia Williams and last seen when runner up at Sandown in the Royal Artillery Gold Cup. A chance is taken with the last named to bring his best Rules form to this race.
The Conditions race may see the seasonal debut of Chase Me trained by James Ridley and successful in three races last season before finishing fifth in the John Corbet Hunter Chase at Stratford in May. Dean Summersby is a rare visitor to Larkhill but he has entered Clondaw Bunny who should improve on his seasonal debut at Wadebridge and is likely to be partnered by Darren Edwards. Coco Live holds an entry in this race and would have a strong chance if he does not run in the Hunt race. Imogens Thunder should come on for his first race of the season and the same can be said for Swincombe Toby who had missed all of last season. Chase Me is the selection.
The Restricted race holds an entry for Fleur du Pommier, the winner of a Maiden when partnered by Alex Edwards at the last meeting. She may find another mare Miss Massey trained by Tim Underwood and unluckily hampered and unseated Phil York at the last meeting difficult to beat. Arcal Fifty runs well at Larkhill and should find a Restricted race at least this season. Hard Ground fell at Ampton last weekend and if making a quick reappearance the hint may be worth taking. Normofthenorth won his only race at Kimble last season and this Alan Hill trained gelding is another to consider. Schiap Hill won his Maiden at Mollington last season and is clearly on the upgrade.
The meeting concludes with an entry of sixteen horses in the Flat race for 4 and 5 year olds. Only Prior Wood has racecourse experience having finished fourth at Ffos Las in a similar race in December. However it is likely that the winner will come from one of the newcomers with One Punch trained by Fran Nimmo, Grand Knight trained by Gearoid Costelloe, Fiscal Firepower trained by Tom Weston and No Peace from Him trained by David Phelan being four to consider. A couple of offspring from Wessex point to pointers are represented by Dorset Diamond the son of Bobbys Choice who won two points and Aunt Lily the daughter of Twoee who won a maiden at Littlewindsor in 2009. Inspection in the paddock would be recommended as well as the betting ring in this race.
Race 1: Hunt Members
1st Fleur Du Pommier
Runners: 4 Distances: l, l Time: 6m 45s
Race 2: Open Maiden 5+
1st Bzantium Lad (Ire)
2nd College Field
3rd O’Faolains Lad (Ire)
Runners: 7 Distances: 15l, 4l Time: 6m 18s
Race 3: Conditions Novice Riders
1st Storm Lantern
2nd Mahlers Star (Ire)
3rd Spanish Arch (Ire)
Runners: 6 Distances: 10l, 15l Time: 6m 21s
Race 4: Conditions 5 yrs +
1st Chase Me (Ire)
2nd Coco Live (Fr)
3rd Merrion Square (Ire)
Runners: 11 Distances: 2l, 10l Time: 6m 18s
Race 5: Mixed Open
1st Monsieur Gibraltar (Fr)
2nd Chasforgold (Ire)
3rd Apple’s Queen
Runners: 5 Distances: 15l, 10l Time: 6m 16s
Race 6: Restricted
1st Miss Massey (Ire)
2nd Hard Ground
3rd Arcal Fifty (Ire)
Runners: 7 Distances: 6l, 6l Time: 6m 24s
Race 7 : Flat 4 & 5 yrs
1st Grand Knight (Fr)
2nd Madame Hannah
3rd Aunt Lily
Runners: 12 Distances: 8l, 4l Time: 4m 06s
It was a bright sunny crisp winter day at Larkhill on Saturday when the Royal Artillery held their point to point. With most National Hunt courses either abandoning their meetings due to waterlogging or having to report heavy going the free draining course at Larkhill comes into its own with ground reported as no worse than good to soft. This gave rise to some very competitive racing at the Wiltshire course with the highlights being a dominant performance by Monsieur Gibraltar on his seasonal reappearance, a dramatic conclusion to the Maiden race, a double for rider Zac Baker, an improved performance by Chase Me in the Conditions race and an impressive debut in the first ever Bumper run at Larkhill.
Monsieur Gibraltar continued his love affair with Larkhill when making his return to racing in the Mixed Open race run in the memory of the late Peter and Jane Bailey both strong supporters of the Royal Artillery Hunt. Having been the leading horse at the course for the previous two seasons he was sold during 2019 to David Maxwell and is currently unbeaten when ridden by his new owner. However as David was riding at Haydock the mount was left with Angus Cheleda who other than being hampered by the fall of Expedite at the tenth fence made the task look very simple with a fifteen lengths victory over Chasforgold. His trainer Rose Loxton indicated that Monsieur Gibraltar would now be campaigned in Hunter Chases for the rest of the season whereas his successful rider recording his fourth win of the season would be going hunting on Monday for his boss Paul Nicholls.
The outcome of the Hunt Members race sponsored by the Honourable Artillery Company was decided at the second last fence when the two surviving runners Fleur du Pommier ridden by Alex Edwards and Adrenalin Flight ridden by Charlie Pike approached it in virtual unison. Whereas Fleur du Pommier jumped it well Adrenalin Flight crashed out leaving the mare to finish alone. Owned by Stan Rawlins and trainer Harriet Waight she was supplementing her course win at the last meeting and is building a good partnership with the former champion jockey. Stan joked that the colours that Alex was wearing were first worn at Nedge in about 1984 and had done sterling service!
The Maiden race sponsored by Lambourn Salt Therapy and New Barn Farm Stables proved to be a fortunate winner for the favourite Byzantium Lad ridden by Zac Baker for trainer Fred Hutsby. He was a well held second when Famous Clermont ridden by Martin McIntyre and trained by Christopher Barber jumped the last but landed rather steeply and gave his rider little chance of staying in the saddle. This was a welcome winner for Fred and his wife Caroline who owns the six year old Yeats gelding who they acquired via Mark Gichero last summer. Described as still learning his job there should be further improvement to come. Fred and Caroline had made the comment to Zac before racing ‘it was about time that you rode us a winner’ so Zac was pleased to oblige.
The Novice Riders race sponsored by Ladies of the Hunt was won in good style by course specialist Storm Lantern ridden by his owner Jennifer Harbison. His jumping was excellent and he had too much in hand over his five rivals recording a ten lengths victory over Mahlers Star. Acquired privately from Robert Waley-Cohen two seasons ago this was his second Larkhill victory for Jennifer and his fourth overall at Larkhill. Recording her fifth career winner, Jennifer is a vet and runs the Equine Vet and Reproduction Limited based at Brackley in Northamptonshire.
The Conditions race sponsored by Cordings of Piccadilly proved to be a duel between the favourite Coco Live ridden by Matthew Fielding and Chase Me ridden by Zac Baker. Coco Live took up the running after the second last and looked the likely winner but Zac had other ideas. Having made most of the running with Merrion Square ridden by Martin McIntyre he switched his mount to the inside and took up the running again on the run in to record a two length victory. Trained by James Ridley the nine year old Mahler gelding is still improving and has connections considering a Hunter Chase option later in the year.
Tim Underwood looks to have un-earthed another useful mare in the shape of Miss Massey in the Restricted race sponsored by the Worshipful Company of Loriners who recorded a comfortable win under Philip York. A half-sister to the prolific Timmie Roe she broke her maiden status at Edgcote last April on her English debut and then was entered at the sales. Failing to meet her reserve she returned back to Tim’s yard to continue her racing career and on this evidence more successes are likely.
The concluding Bumper (a 2 mile Flat race) was a first for Larkhill and twelve of the sixteen entries declared for this race. At the two furlong marker there were many in contention but turning into the home straight Grand Knight ridden by Peter Bryan quickly accelerated away from his rivals to record an impressive eight lengths victory. Owned by Helen Macphail and trained by her partner Gearoid Costelloe at Marlborough he was bought at the Tattersalls Derby Sales last June for 90K Euros. Gearoid explained that he had bought 10 horses as three year olds last year to run in point to points and bumper races this season. This Slickly gelding is the most forward of his purchases and as he was born on 24th January this is not totally surprising. Behind the winner were two home bred mares Madame Hannah ridden by Tommie O’Brien and Aunt Lily ridden by Martin McIntyre so there is still hope for breeders!