Secretary: Mr A Connell
Address: 9 Townsend Chitterne All Saints Warminster Wilts BA12 0LF
Contact Details Tel: 01985 850946 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 17th January 2022 12.30pm
Races: Larkhill Hunts, 4, 5yr Flat, Restricted, 5yrs+ Maiden, Mixed Open, RA Conditions Level 2 (Novice Riders), RA 5yrs+ Conditions Level 2
First Race: 11.30pm
The Royal Artillery hold their annual Point to Point at Larkhill this coming Saturday and this is the fourth meeting at the popular Wiltshire course this season. Since the last meeting all of the fences have been moved to fresh ground and the bends have also been moved. Currently the going is reported as being good and it is likely to remain the same by the day of the meeting. SVGC Limited are welcomed as sponsors for the racecourse and will also sponsor a race at the meeting. A good entry of 82 horses have been received for the 7 races which is due to start at 11.30am and prior to the first race there will be a Side Saddle Dash at 11.00am which should be a good spectacle to watch. Masks should continue to be worn in the officials’ area and the paddock and social distancing should be maintained particularly in the crowded areas.
The feature race is the INEOS Grenadier Mixed Open race for which 13 horses have been entered. It is a high-quality entry headed by Caid du Berlais trained by Sam Loxton. The winner of two Hunter Chases last season at Wincanton and Warwick and the dual winner of the Champion Hunter Chase at Punchestown this will be his seasonal debut but this veteran is a class act. Amongst his potential opponents is the very progressive mare Highway Jewel trained and ridden by Bradley Gibbs who was a winner of a Mares Hunter Chase at Cheltenham last May but her best performance last season was when beating Hazel Hill at Chaddesley Corbett. Winners this season include the evergreen Southfield Theatre who is bound to set off in front, Maitree Express who won well at the last Larkhill meeting, Dragon d’Estruval who won one division of the Conditions race at the Avon Vale meeting and Envoye Special who won the other division at the same meeting. Trio for Rio is another to come into the reckoning as is Salvatore but if Caid du Berlais is fully tuned up he should be too good for his rivals.
The Conditions race for 5-year-olds and upwards is the race before the Mixed Open and this would certainly be an easier option for Dragon d’Estruval. Previously trained by Nicky Henderson and Willie Mullins and the winner of four steeplechases he is now in the capable hands of Phil Rowley and will be ridden by the promising Ben Bromley. His main rival looks to be Sixteen Letters trained by Neil McLean who was second to Envoye Special at the last meeting but he might have to settle for the runner up spot again. Lord Scoundrel owned by Graeme McPherson is a seven-time winner under Rules but this is his seasonal debut. Minim Mouse runs well at Larkhill and should give Chloe Emsley a good ride whilst Tuff Nano needs to put a disappointing run at Barbury Castle behind her but on her best form could run well.
The Novice Riders race could see another winner for 16-year-old Olive Nicholls as her father Paul has entered both Monsieur Gibraltar already a winner for Olive at the last meeting and Old Guard who won his only point to point last season and has won 9 races under Rules. Possible opponents are the progressive Footloose who has won his last two races for Arron Butterfield and the ex-Irish trained Doldido the winner of a Chase at Galway in September. Another former resident at Paul Nicholls yard is Captain Buck’s who is now in the care of Jenny Gordon but he may be aimed at the opening race on the card. Fan Club Aulmes won two of his four races last season and this progressive gelding trained by Fran Nimmo might be one to chase Olive Nicholls chosen mount home.
The meeting starts with the Hunt Members where Captain Buck’s should give a bold show for Freddy Gordon in his search for his first winner. His principal rival will be the representative of local trainer Harriet Waight of either Coco Live or Fleur du Pommier. Coco Live has advanced considerably since moving to Harriet’s stable but this would be his seasonal debut and the fitness of Captain Buck’s might be the telling factor.
The Restricted race may see the reappearance of Nuova Vita who was successful in a Maiden race at the last meeting. Trained by Ed Walker and ridden by Chloe Emsley he caught the long -time leader Satellite Receiver over a shorter trip but the longer distance should not be a problem for him. Honey I’m Good was an easy winner of a Mares Maiden at Barbury Castle and this mare may give Nuova Vita the most to do. Arcal Fifty always run a game race at Larkhill and Lagonda was runner up in a similar race at the Avon Vale meeting. Forty Acres shaped encouragingly on his seasonal debut at the last meeting and holds each way prospects.
Satellite Receiver is the standout entry from the 18 entries for the Maiden race. He showed improved form from his three runs in Ireland when beaten by Nuova Vita and this Chris Barber trained six-year-old should be able to go one better. Of his opponents Don’t Ask Fitz was runner up at the Avon Vale meeting and should find a race this season. Dorset Diamond would probably have finished second at the last meeting but for unseating Charlie Sprake at the second last. Westhill owned by Clive Hitchings and trained by Sam Loxton was in third place when falling at Chaddesley Corbett and provided not affected by that fall should be considered. Albert Hucklebuck has place form over Hurdles when trained by Chris Gordon and he is a potential ride for his 16-year-old son Freddy. Highland Glory out of the very successful mare Highland Retreat was sold cheaply out of Dan Skelton’s stable and her debut over English point to point fences should be noted.
The meeting concludes with a Flat race over two miles for which fourteen horses have been entered. There is not much form to go on but He’llstopatthetop was runner up in a similar race in December and could easily go one better for owners Tracy Williams and Donna Walters. Royal Buck’s was third in the other division of the Flat race in December and could use his racecourse experience to good effect. Maid of the Night, Hallowed Rose and Pocketts Road were fourth, fifth and sixth in another race at Barbury Castle and there may not be much between them. Sailed Away was in training with Sir Michael Stoute but never ran for him and is now with Michael Kehoe. Phil Rowley has a tremendous record in these races and his representative Turbo Dave would certainly go on the short list.
Larkhill Racecourse is to be found 5m NW of Amesbury, Nr A303, A345 and A360 – Postcode SP4 8QR. . First race 11. 30am Etickets can be purchased at www.pointingwessex.co.uk Entry Costs on race day £12.50 per person by cash or card, race cards £3, children go free
Maitree Express was the stand out performance at the Royal Artillery point to point last Saturday when winning the Mixed Open race. Other notable performances came from Satellite Receiver in the Maiden race, a first point to point winner for Amber Jackson-Fennell, a double for jockey Josh Newman and from Maid of the Night in a competitive Bumper race which concluded racing. The going was good and although it was chilly it remained dry to allow racegoers an enjoyable afternoon on Salisbury Plain.
Maitree Express bred, owned and trained by Robert Waley-Cohen was an impressive winner of a competitive Mixed Open race sponsored by Ineos. Following up his win in a Conditions race at the last meeting when ridden by Sam Waley-Cohen he was ridden on this occasion by Alice Stevens who gave the eight-year-old gelding a good ride and he defeated the hard pulling Envoye Special by ten lengths. Commenting afterwards Robert said ‘this ground was much more to his liking than the sticky going he encountered at Barbury Castle in December’ and added that a Hunter Chase may be on the agenda as possibly the Coronation Gold Cup in two week’s time might come too soon. He explained that his son Sam was away in the West Indies celebrating a 40th birthday of a close friend but Alice proved to be a more than a capable deputy.
Coco Live proved that the lack of a previous run this season was no obstacle when winning the opening Hunt race for owners Stan Rawlins and trainer Harriet Waight. Setting off in front under Charlie Sprake he made all to defeat Arcal Fifty by two lengths and both horse and rider seemed to enjoy his return to action. He may be seen again at the Combined Services meeting next month but Harriet is scheduled to attend a hen party on that day so there will be some discussion on his participation between now and then.
Satellite Receiver was a facile winner of the Maiden race for Will Biddick and trainer Chris Barber. The runner up over a shorter trip at the last meeting Will adopted different tactics this time sitting behind the leaders until taking it up three fences from home and drawing right away. An expensive store horse he ran three times in Irish point to points for Sean Doyle being placed third once. Still owned by his brother Eamonn the horse was transferred to Chris to run in English points and then to sell on. A half-brother to Gold Cup winner Lord Windermere and Sub Lieutenant he is described by Chris as ‘a proper horse’ and should have a future under N H rules and his next appearance will be at the Cheltenham Sales on Friday.
The Novice Riders race was expected to give Olive Nicholls riding Monsieur Gibraltar another winner in her fledgling riding career. However, this was not to be her day with Fan Club Aulmes and Footloose fighting out the finish with the former prevailing by three lengths. Bought by Fran Nimmo as a store he went into training with Dan Skelton but this was not a success and he returned to Fran to run in point to points last season. The winner of a Maiden and Restricted in 2021 he runs for the Picnic Partnership which is a group of owners who have paid a fixed price for the season and a guarantee of two horses to follow for the season. Ridden by Amber Jackson-Fennell this was her first point to point victory although she had ridden a winner under Rules at Market Rasen for Richard Hobson. Amber, 20, joined Fran and Charlie Poste about three months ago and hopes to get other opportunities from the stable during the season.
The Conditions race provided the first leg of Josh’s double aboard John and Floss Symes Sixteen Letters. Placed second on numerous occasions over recent seasons this was a deserved victory particularly bearing in mind the horse’s breathing issues. Examined by Ben Brain he reported that the horse could not have a wind operation due to his throat being so deformed but despite this that was his fifth career victory. Trained by Neil Mclean at Woolminstone near Crewkerne he was given a very positive ride by Josh and he had three lengths in hand from favourite Dragon d’Estruval ridden by Ben Bromley.
A front running performance from Lagonda ridden by Tommie O’Brien was too good for her three rivals in the Restricted race. The runner up to The Big Sting at the last meeting she made no mistake to reward her owner Trea Newell who explained that her home bred mare had suffered a severe infection last year and if it had not been for the care and treatment of the vets at Newmarket, she may not have made a full recovery. A half-sister to Top Bandit already the winner of four races for Gordon Elliott in 2021 Trea reported that she has three more of the family at home the youngest being a yearling.
Josh secured his double when riding Maid of the Night for former National Hunt jockey Mark Grant based in Lambourn in the concluding 2-mile Bumper race. Strongly fancied on her debut at Barbury Castle in December she found the sharp turns not to her liking but put in a strong performance here to defeat Ballela Sunrise ridden by Bradley Gibbs. Bred by Mark’s mother Liz and owned by his wife Eimear Mark indicated the mare’s next appearance is scheduled to be at the Cheltenham Sales on Friday. Related to the prolific Menorah also bred by Liz Grant she is sure to attract interest at the sale.