The Official Point-to-Point Website for the Wessex Area
Larkhill Racing Club @ Larkhill
Date: 31/12/2023
Pony Racing: No
Course: Larkhill Racecourse
First Race: 11.30
Extra Info

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:   Wednesday 20th December 2023 12.30pm (note early closing date)

Races:   Conditions Level 2, Ladies Open, 5 years + Maiden, Mens Open, Restricted, Conditions Level 3 (Novice Riders) Maiden Conditions (2m 4f)

First Race:   11.30

ENTRY FEES  £50 per entry per race - NB. Online entry fees £50  2nd entry same horse £20

Hunter Cert deadline is Midday Thursday 23rd DECEMBER



The final meeting of the current calendar year in the Wessex area takes place at Larkhill on 31st December when the Larkhill Racing Club holds their meeting. This is an ideal opportunity to enjoy an afternoon on Salisbury Plain after all of the festivities have been completed and before the New Year is heralded in. The course is in good condition with the current going report being good and good to soft in places with the bends having been moved since the last meeting. The meeting has been rewarded with an excellent entry of 120 for the seven scheduled races due to start at 11.30am and the quality of the entries certainly gives every hope that there will be some competitive racing to view.

The opening race, the Godfrey Mandrell Memorial Conditions, remembers Godfrey who was a strong supporter of Larkhill in his lifetime and he would have been delighted with the quality of the 23 horses entered. Montanna boasts a course success from last season and if ready for his seasonal debut he could provide enthusiastic owner Reg Hopkins with another winner. Tara Storm was a revelation last season and if appearing here instead of Chaddesley Corbett where he holds another entry he should be on the short list. Deise Aba boasted good form when trained under Rules for Philip Hobbs and now with Fran Poste he should be able to show the benefit of his seasonal debut and is one to consider. Imogen’s Thunder is the apple of trainer Mary Tory’s eye and it is good to see him back after only a sole outing last season. Two ex-Paul Nicholls trained horses Duc de Bourbon and Mr Glass are worth keeping an eye on as they make their pointing debuts. Nickolson had a solitary pointing outing last season winning at Hexham and this high class ex NH individual may be another to consider.

The Ladies Open sponsored by Paul Nicholls and John Bolton may prove a battle between the sponsors own horse Viroflay and Grace A Vous Enki. Both are already winners at Larkhill this season with Viroflay winning impressively at the first meeting under Olive Nicholls and is becoming difficult to beat at the Wiltshire course. The Nicky Sheppard trained Grace A Vous Enki easily won a Mixed Open at the last meeting and looks progressive. Away from the two principals Sara Bradstock has entered her two stalwarts namely Myth Buster and Southfield Theatre and if either run, they will ensure a fast pace. Champagne Noir, a rare entry for Tom Ellis gave Ellie Holder four wins last season but this is a much together assignment.  Viroflay is narrowly preferred to continue his successes at Larkhill. 

The We Do Vans sponsored Open Maiden race looks a challenge to pick the winner from the 22 entries. The four-year-old Deep Purple was a promising second at Great Trethew and should be considered along with Money from America an encouraging second at Chaddesley Corbett and Dorset Diamond second at the last Larkhill meeting. Down the Inner ran well at the first Larkhill meeting and similar comments apply to Beat The Poli. Gasmani ran in two Bumpers last season for David Dennis and is one to consider. The ex- Irish Mo Chairde now with Hannah Clarke was placed in his only run in Ireland and looks one to note. Both Our John and Rocky Creed have placed form in Ireland with a single outing each in this country and are interesting prospects. Deep Purple can bring his form in Cornwall to record his first career victory. 

The Southern Counties Auctioneers sponsored Mens Open race is scheduled to be the seasonal debut for Famous Clermont the winner of the Aintree Foxhunters last season as well as two other Hunter Chases and this race 12 months ago. The best horse trained in the Wessex area he will be expected to start this year’s campaign with a victory and it will be a surprise if his colours are lowered. Grace A Vous Enki contains an entry in this race as well as the Ladies Open and with his victory this season under his belt he would be a very good rival for the favourite to meet. However, he may swerve the race and, in his absence, the consistent Slievegar, Teescomponentsfly who won at the first Larkhill meeting and Coup de Pinceau might fight out the minor honours. 

The Alec Jarrett sponsored Restricted race looks a very competitive race amongst the 15 entries. Of those with form this season Douglas Longbottom was a good second behind the unbeaten Regatta De Blanc and a repeat of that form may be good enough. Horizon D’Ainay was an easy winner at the last meeting but this is a much stronger race. My Lucky Star won at the first Larkhill  meeting and looks progressive and similar comments apply to Potters Magic who won a Maiden at Upcott Cross at the end of last season. Trevada won a Bumper for Oliver Sherwood and was placed over fences for him and is now with Fran Poste. Miss May Hill boasts good form, and this well-bred mare should find a Restricted this season. The ex-Irish Boys Will Be Boys won a Maiden at Ballingarry and now trained by Mike Felton his appearance will be awaited with interest. 

The Woolley and Wallis sponsored Conditions race for Novice Riders also holds an entry for Tara Storm and if this race is chosen, he must have a good chance. Step Back is a good ride for a Novice and Lexie New already has three career victories to her name. Millbrook Flyer has been a good schoolmaster for Ed Rees and this race looks a suitable one for him. A Jet of Our Own is very consistent and should give Fred Philipson-Stow another good ride. Franigane was second in a similar race at Wadebridge and this ex-Harry Whittington gelding should be considered. Both Captain Buck’s and Oneupmanship ought to come on for their seasonal debuts. 

The Maiden Conditions race concludes the day over the shorter trip of 2 miles and four furlongs has attracted 16 entries and the standout entry is Casting Aspersions who looked an unlucky loser when travelling well until falling at the second last at the first Larkhill meeting. He went into a number of notebooks after that run and he will be strongly fancied. Deep Purple also contains an entry for this race, and he could be the main rival. All Night Parking was second at the last meeting and has chances as does the ex-Irish pair Bud Success and Wolf Walker trained by Josh Newman and Chris Barber respectively. 

Larkhill Racecourse is to be found 5m NW of Amesbury, Nr A303, A345 and A360 – Postcode SP4 8QR. First race 11,30 am Entry Costs on race day £15 per person by cash or card, children under 16 go free.


Race 1:            Condition Level 2 

1st         Deise Aba

2nd        Olly Norse

3rd        Fild’Ariane 

Runners:          14                    Distances:        12l, 11/2l                     Time: 6m 28s


Race 2:            Ladies Open 

1st         Viroflay

2nd        Champagne Noir

3rd        Viv Lavilla 

Runners:          8                      Distances:        2l, 3/4l                         Time: 6m 26s


Race 3:            Maiden 

1st         Gasmani

2nd        Money from America

3rd        Fine Dining 

Runners:          16                    Distances:        15l, 4l                          Time: 6m 33s


Race 4:            Mens Open 

1st         Grace A Vous

2nd        Drop Him In

3rd        Famous Clermont 

Runners:          7                      Distances:        30l, 3l                          Time: 6m 28s


Race 5:            Restricted 

1st         Horizon D’Ainay

2nd        Chabichou Dupoitou

3rd        Potters Magic 

Runners:          9                      Distances:        13/4l, 7l                       Time: 6m 42s


Race 6:            Conditions Level 3 Novice Riders 

1st         A Jet of Our Own

2nd        Tara Storm

3rd        Franigane 

Runners:          10                    Distances:        13/3l, 15l                     Time: 6m 333s


Race 7:            Maiden Conditions 2m4f 

1st         Wolf Walker

2nd        Deep Purple

3rd        Belshazzar 

Runners:          9                      Distances:        20l, 2l                          Time: 5m 39s

Pony Results



The loss of the Harkaway Club meeting at Chaddesley Corbett to the weather allowed owners and keepers to switch their charges to Larkhill and at least three of the winners on a very competitive card would have run at the Worcestershire course. Even Larkhill which can absorb a lot of rain was at its most testing and several fancied horses including the Aintree Foxhunters winner from 2023 found the conditions stretching. During the day it remained mostly dry with a full rainbow across the course on two occasions before the heavens opened for the final race. It was another good day for James King with a riding double, two highly promising four-year-olds to follow and two quality ex steeplechasers showing a revival of their form.

Deise Aba was an easy winner in the colours of the late Trevor Hemmings in the opening Conditions race ridden by Zac Baker and trained by Fran Nimmo. Previously trained by Philip Hobbs and the winner of three steeplechases and was placed in a cross-country race at Cheltenham in January 2023 he had been transferred to Fran’s stable in the hope that this would reinvigorate his enthusiasm. He did not enjoy his opening point to point but this time held up by Zac he was in command in the second last and had twelve lengths in hand at the winning post. Fran explained that ‘he needs better ground to show his best form’ and the drop in class from his rules races helped. Fran took him hunting with the Bicester and he was an interesting ride particularly over a set of rails. Zac was delighted to have won the race run in memory of Godfrey Maundrell with whom he had a good association at the start of his riding career and in particular on Arthurian Legend on whom he won six races.

Viroflay maintained his unbeaten record at Larkhill when holding off the challenges of Champagne Noir ridden by Ellie Holder and Viva Lavilla ridden by Shannon Holmes in the Ladies Open race. Ridden as usual by his keeper Olive Nicholls for her father Paul and John Bolton he decided to lead after the second fence and despite the efforts of his rivals none could get past him. Described by his proud rider as much stronger than last season, he is another who appreciates better ground and his next outing is likely to be a potential repeat of his Coronation Gold Cup success from 2023. He might contest a Novice Hunter Chase later in the season but the going will be critical for this.

David Dennis introduced an impressive fencing debutant in the form of Gasmani, a four-year-old gelding by Getaway in the Open Maiden race. A big field of sixteen horses faced the starter but once James King set sail for home from the second last there was never any doubt about the result. Bought by David as a 3-year-old store he had a couple of runs in point-to-point Bumpers last season, showing some promise in his second outing. Described by his owner and keeper as still babyish and green, he hopes that he might be able to match the achievements of his half brother Cyclop who is David’s stable star having already won eleven races in his career. James who schooled him last week reported that ‘he jumped well then and I was hopeful he would repeat that on the racecourse which he did’ Future plans have yet to be decided but he is likely to have a career initially over Hurdles for David’s NH yard.

James completed his double when recording an extremely easy win aboard Joan Hitchings’ Grace A Vous Enki in the Mens Open race. Repeating his triumph from the New Forest meeting in December he has enjoyed his move away from National Hunt racing and the different training regime at Nicky Sheppard’s yard. Despite the presence of the Aintree Foxhunters winner Famous Clermont Nicky explained that ‘you should not be frightened off by one rival’ as advised to her husband Matt by the late Mercy Rimell and this was fully vindicated. Future plans will be decided by Clive and Joan Hitchings so we will have to wait for this news. He would have run at Chaddesley which is much closer to where the Hitchings live. Famous Clermont did not seem to enjoy the more testing going and surrendered the runner up spot to Drop Him In on the run in. 

Horizon D’Ainay repeated his success at Larkhill when gamely beating a competitive Restricted race field of eight rivals. Trained for the Pitchfork Partnership by Justin Brotherton his keeper was thrilled with his gelding’s success describing himself as being ‘over the moon’ and delighted with the ride the gelding received from Toby McCain-Mitchell. He had thought that the softer going would not play to his strengths, but this proved not to be the case. His conqueror at Badbury in November Jay Bee Whiskey had franked the form when winning again at Alnwick and this gelding is now gaining in confidence on each occasion he runs. He is one to keep on the right side of for the rest of the season. 

The Novice Riders race was an excellent example of the success of owner/riders who are still the backbone of our sport with the first three places filled by horses trained for their owner/rider or family members. Tara Storm was a revelation last season for Eve Hobbs and it looked like the partnership were going to start their current campaign with another victory. However, A Jet of Our Own ridden by Fred Philipson-Stow had other ideas and delaying his challenge until the last minute he swept past Tara Storm in the shadow of the post. Owned by Fred’s father Edward and trained by Nicky Sheppard he is another who would have run at Chaddesley but Fred was delighted to record his first Larkhill victory and his fourth career win. Fred, 18, has been working for Will Biddick for the last 6 months and regularly rides six or more lots a day at Will’s new stable at Vale Farm near Yeovil. He has been grateful for the support and advice received to date from Will and is looking forward to learning more from him.

The finale, the Open Maiden race over the shorter trip of two and a half miles, was run in atrocious conditions with hail and rain mixing to make viewing virtually impossible. As the field emerged from the gloom approaching the second last Wolf Walker ridden by Will Biddick was in command and he easily beat Deep Purple ridden by Zac Baker for Fran Nimmo. Owned by Robert Fear and Andrew Ham and trained by Chris Barber he had been sourced by Ed Bailey initially as a foal and subsequently after his first point to point outing in Ireland but had been unable to secure a purchase as the price was too high. After his rather disappointing last run in Ireland Ed tried again and this time was successful to be able to acquire the four-year-old gelding and Chris persuaded friends Robert and Andrew to take him under their ownership. Whilst Robert is well known to the pointing community and is currently the Course Inspector for Larkhill Andrew from Bradford on Avon was having his first point to point runner although he explained that ‘ I have had runners under Rules – the best probably being Mr Medic who was trained by Robert Walford’  Chris saddling his first winner of the season was keen to give credit to Jamie Thomas for his work with the Diamond Boy  gelding who is not easy but is clearly very talented and is an exciting prospect for his owners.