Secretary: Mrs Victoria Cobden
Address: The Bungalow, Westbury Manor Farm, West Meon, Peterfield, Hants GU32 1ND
Contact Details Tel: 01730 829313 Mob: 07721 488953
Entries to: The Point to Point Racing Co Ltd
Entries close: Monday 22nd November 2021 12.30pm
Races: 4 year old Maiden (2m4f), Ladies Open, Mens Open, Restricted, Conditions (L2) Veterans 9yr+, 5yr+ Maiden
First Race: 12.00 noon
The first of seven scheduled meetings at the busiest point to point course in the country at Larkhill takes place this coming Sunday 28th November. Due to the Covid restrictions only two meetings took place last season and this will be the first Hursley Hambledon meeting for two years. The course is reported to be in good condition ahead of Sunday’s meeting with the going expected to be on the fast side of good with an excellent covering of grass retaining moisture in the soil. The first of six races is scheduled to take place at 12noon and a total of 64 horses have been entered for the meeting. Early bird Etickets can be purchased in advance for the meeting at £10 per head at www.larkhillracing.com or for £12.50 per head on race day by either cash or card.
The Moore Barlow Ladies Open race has attracted 10 entries with the third and fourth in the Mixed Open at the Portman meeting namely Llancillo Lord and Apple’s Queen likely to reoppose. Llancillo Lord was having his first race for his new owner Megan Bevan and the 5lb allowance she can claim may keep him ahead of Sally Alner’s charge. Sally has also entered the prolific Tom Barton who ran well on his seasonal debut at Badbury behind the progressive Twig. Grageelagh Girl won two points for trainer Hannah Lewis last season and has been running under Rules for leading trainer Fergal O’Brien during the summer. With his horses running so well this mare should certainly be considered. Coningsby was second to Salvatore at the Avon Vale meeting in 2020 and a repeat of that form could be good enough. Financial Outcome won a chase for Rebecca Curtis and is another to consider on his English point to point debut.
The Ward Thomas Removals Mens Open race due to be run over the shorter trip of 2 miles 4 furlongs may see the first attempt in Open company for the leading Wessex horse from last season Famous Clermont. Trained by Chris Barber he won three of his four starts and this promising six year old looks one to follow this season as he steps up to this class. He may be opposed by either of the Robert Waley-Cohen entries Maitree Express the winner of two of his races last season and Igor the winner of a Hurdle when trained by Nicky Henderson and third in the Lady Dudley Cup last season. Moratorium won a Novice Riders race at Dunsmore but this is a big rise in class. Sky Marshal was second behind Le Ligerien at Badbury and his fitness may play an important part in this race. Rewritetherules won a Novice Riders race at Moira in Ireland when trained by Shark Hanlon and he is another interesting contender on his English debut. Capitaine was disqualified after winning a short Hunter Chase at Stratford and may play a role in this company.
The Jockey Club and Retraining of Racehorses Veteran Conditions race for horses aged 9 years old or over has attracted the biggest entry of the day with 17 horses. Tom Barton holds an entry in this race and this may prove to be his target rather than the Ladies race. Knockaderry Flyer who was third in that Badbury race may also reoppose rather than the Ladies race. Exxaro ran well behind Where’s Wilma at Badbury and this ex- Colin Tizzard inmate may enjoy the different routine at Chris Barber’s yard. Captain Bucks did not give Freddie Gordon a fairy tale introduction at Badbury but if on a going day he may be a different proposition. Minim Mouse won at Bratton last season having been narrowly denied in a similar race at Larkhill last December. Veteran Valtor the winner of 8 races under rules when trained by Nicky Henderson and in France is likely to be the mount of the promising Ben Bromley and he brings a touch of class to the race having won nearly half a million in prize money in his long career.
The meeting begins with the Tattersalls Cheltenham sponsored 4 year old Maiden race over 2 and a half miles The most experienced entry is Jervaulx who had seven races for trainer James Bethell on the flat before switching to Andrew Pennock’s yard for two races at the end of last season. Placed second last weekend at Higham for Alan Hill he may find one or two of the newcomers too good. Fran and Charlie Poste’s horses in these races should be considered and their Haitien de Thaix is likely to start at a short price in the absence of much form. Fabstroke had a run in a Bumper for Nigel Twiston Davies at Stratford in March and may have benefitted from that outing and may prove the greatest opposition to Fran and Charlie Poste’s entry.
The Botley Commercials/Spraytek Restricted race may give Schiap Hill the chance to add to his Maiden victory from 2019. The runner up at Badbury to the 4 year old Hey Soul Sister and giving that rival a stone he could be too good for the majority of the six other entries. Slievegar won a maiden last season at Hornby Castle but his form tailed off afterwards. Arcal Fifty has run several good races at Larkhill but he is now twelve years of age. Lagonda won her Maiden easily at Milborne St Andrew in 2020 and was placed over Hurdles for Tom Lacey. Now with James Ridley and on her best form she is the pick.
The Equestrian Fencing and Timber Limited five year old Maiden race concludes the meeting. Roman Rock has been placed both in Ireland and England when trained under Rules by Mouse Morris and Dr Richard Newland and should have a good chance. Santon was placed for the late Trevor Hemmings when trained by Alan King and on his second at Doncaster a year ago he holds strong credentials for his new connections. The Big Sting had seven outings for Harry Fry but he might find pointing easier. Niteinshininarmour has placed form in point to points and the same comments apply to Footloose who has changed stables since last season.
Larkhill Racecourse is to be found 5m NW of Amesbury, Nr A303, A345 and A360 – Postcode SP4 8QR. . First race 12 noon Entry Costs on race day £12.50 per person by cash or card, race cards £3, children go free
A bright cold but sunny day welcomed a very healthy crowd who enjoyed some good racing at Larkhill on Sunday when the Hursley Hambledon held their meeting. Reflecting on the day retiring secretary Victoria Cobden reported that they had had a successful meeting and that there had been a large number of etickets sold before the day. On the racecourse there were victories for two riders celebrating their second point to point career victories, another rider who finally put his Larkhill jinx behind him and a very popular winner for the evergreen Tom Barton and his enthusiastic lady owners.
Tom Barton was recording his tenth point to point victory when winning the Ladies Open Race ridden by Natalie Parker. Always prominent he was left in front following the departure of TB Broke Her at the fourth last fence and he had too much in hand to beat Grageelagh Girl by four lengths. Clearly benefitting from his seasonal debut at his favourite course Badbury Rings earlier in the month his trainer Sally Alner who rides him in all of his work at home reported that ‘he has never been better’. She did add that going right-handed was not his preferred option but this did not stop him.
Cheltenham De Vaige was a very comfortable winner of the Men’s Open race over the shorter trip of 2 and a half miles. Ridden for the first time by Bradley Roberts he tracked the leader Capitaine ridden by Will Biddick for most of the race until taking it up after jumping the last ditch and drew clear on the run in. Owned by Matt and Sally Burford and trained by Hannah Lewis he is an enigmatic character who is walked to the start in each of his races as he is liable to bolt if allowed to canter down. Matt and Sally hope that he will be able to run at the Cheltenham Hunter Chase evening in May as he prefers faster ground. Bradley,21, was recording his second career point to point having won his first at Barbury Castle in 2017. Originally, he was based with Tim Vaughan but then moved to David Loughnane where he rode 5 winners as an amateur on the flat. A year ago, he moved to Graeme Macpherson and following his merger with Fergal O’Brien Bradley is now working for Fergal where Cheltenham De Vaige had been based whilst running in the summer.
James King opted to ride at Hexham but he missed a winner at Larkhill when the Max Comley trained Knockaderry Flyer made all to win the Veteran Horse Conditions race. Max had rung Darren Andrews on Wednesday to ask if he could be on standby if James was not available and Darren was pleased to be given the chance. Speaking afterwards Darren said that this was his first ever winner at Larkhill and he had been convinced that this was a course that he was destined never to ride a winner. Max who currently has 20 horses at his yard in Naunton Gloucestershire advised that none of The Jump On Board Partnership were present to witness their winner as they had been partying late into Saturday night and were unable to get to the course.
The Tattersalls Four-Year-Old Maiden race was a match and for most of the race the two runners raced round together. The newcomer Olly Norse ridden by Tommie O’Brien and trained by James Ridley took it up in the final stages and had a two and a half lengths advantage at the line. A son of Dancingtilmidnight who won two point to points for Richard Barber and two hurdles for Harry Fry he was withdrawn from his intended Doncaster store sale by his breeder Di White-Hamilton and then offered for sale on Racehorse Trader. Bought by his current owner Charles Randall he was hunted by him as a 3 year old and looks a promising sort although the form of this race is difficult to evaluate.
The furthest traveller to Larkhill was Jo McCain and her son Toby McCain-Mitchell who brought Slievegar down from Cheshire to run in the Restricted race. After the departure of the favourite Lagonda at the third fence and the unfortunate carrying out by the loose horse of Arcal Fifty the long-time leader Schiap Hill was overtaken by Slievegar after jumping the last ditch and with a spectacular leap at the second last Toby and his mount soon put the race in safe keeping. This was Toby’s second career winner having opened his account on the same horse at Hornby Castle last season. Jo, sister to National Hunt trainer Donald, paying her first ever visit to Larkhill did add that ‘she had promised her dog that if the horse won, he would have some sausages on his way home’ so there was another happy animal in the horsebox.
The concluding race saw the closest finish of the day with The Big Sting ridden by Will Biddick holding off the challenge of Footloose ridden by Arron Butterfield on the run in. Owned by Phil Fry and trained by Chris Barber the six-year-old Scorpion gelding has taken his time to record his first success but as he is at least 17.2 hands it is not surprising that it has been necessary to be patient with him. Bought by Phil’s daughter Lorraine as a store at the age of 3 he had been trained by Harry Fry until this season but was transferred to Chris’s stable in the summer to see if a spell of point to pointing and fences would help with his career progression.