Larkhill is scheduled to hold its second meeting of the season on Sunday 10 January as the curtain opener for racing in 2021.
Following the move of Wiltshire to Tier 3 (from 31 December) sadly no paying public or owners will now be able to attend the meeting and anyone including horses residing in Tier 4 will be unable to attend. It is hoped that there will be limited live streaming available and more information about this can be found here.
Unfortunately, events are conspiring to make it impossible for the Larkhill Racing Club to run on Sunday 3 January. It has therefore been decided to postpone for one week to Sunday, January 10 in the hope that the issues can be resolved. Entries will stand.
The current going is good and although the forecast is for the weather to get colder it is not anticipated that this will create any issues and please visit Weatherbys point to point website here should be consulted if there is any change.
The Skinner’s sponsored Ladies race has attracted a quality entry of seventeen horses headed by Shantou Flyer owned by David Maxwell and trained by Sam Loxton. Placed in the Cheltenham Foxhunters in March when last seen he may have too much class for his rivals and may give his trainer his first ever winner following the sad loss of his wife Rose in the summer. Already a winner at Larkhill last season he looks to be an exciting potential ride for Natalie Parker. Ravished a ready winner already this season for Joseph O’Shea at Kimble and the likely mount of Alice Stevens looks the most likely rival and with Clive Bennett’s horses in such good form the mare Shometheway should not be discounted. Unbeaten in her two races last season this will be her first race in Open Class but her stablemate Miss Seagreen was successful in her first venture in the higher grade at the last Larkhill meeting. Sam Loxton has also entered Captain Buck’s but he may not be good enough to trouble the principals. Jatiluwih would come into the reckoning on his run at Bishops Court but he was disappointing at Barbury.
The Men’s Open race also contains an entry for Jatiluwih and if this race is chosen to be Will Biddick’s ride then he should not be discounted. However the two principals look to be the Melanie Rowley trained Hazel Hill the winner of the 2019 Foxhunters and the runner up at Chaddesley Corbett in December and the Sam Loxton trained Chameron. An ex Paul Nicholls inmate he only raced for Rose twice last season but was highly impressive on his debut at Larkhill and then followed up by easily winning the Coronation Gold Cup. His rider Angus Cheleda is riding on a crest of a wave at present and has a strike record of over 40% under rules this season. This looks a really exciting clash and with the runner up from the last Larkhill Men’s Open race Coningsby and No Limitations the winner of a Conditions race at the last meeting also holding entries this is a race to savour with slight preference given to the younger Chameron to come out on top.
The opening race the Conditions race has already been divided into two races with 23 entries in Division One and 22 entries in Division Two. Trio for Rio was a good third in the Mens Open race at the last meeting and the first division might be an easier race for this promising Getaway gelding. The veteran Wonderful Charm now in the care of Jennifer Harbison will also appreciate this drop in class having run in the Ladies race at last meeting. No Limitations just held off the late challenge of Minim Mouse in a similar race at the last meeting and Chloe Emsley will be looking to master Bradley Gibbs mount if they take each other on again. Coningsby would come into the mix if he opts for this race rather than the Mens Open and another to consider is the Luke Harvey owned and trained Drumlynn who is returning to action having last raced in April 2019. Trio for Rio is the selection for this division.
Apple’s Queen and Chase Me are already winners this season and the former won well at the last meeting when ridden for the first time by Natalie Parker and will be fancied for the second Division. Different Gravey had a run at Wadebridge and if he is partnered by Will Biddick then he should be on the short list. Christopher Barber’s Envoye Special should improve for his first outing and is another to consider. Ballykan ran well at Bishops Court and he could give Ben Bromley a good ride. An interesting recruit to pointing is the former Paul Rooney owned and Nigel Twiston Davies trained One for Rosie. Already a winner of two hurdles and a Bumper he is now in the care of Andrew Hardacre and could be one to follow. The Golden Rebel won his last two outings last season and is on the upgrade and could provide Jack Andrews with a winner.
The Restricted race which has received an entry of 19 horses may see the return to Larkhill of Famous Clermont who was a ready winner of a Maiden at the last meeting and looks likely to step up in class. Maitree Express was another Impressive winner at the last meeting and may give Famous Clermont the most to do. So Socksy won a Mares Maiden at Barbury Castle whereas Cashmoll just failed to catch Happy Larry in a similar race last month. Both Raging Fire and The Odissey missed last season but won their respective Maiden races in 2019 in good style so should be noted on their return to racing. Gottagottagetaway brings consistent form to the race with two placings this season already but Famous Clermont is the selection.
The Novice Riders race looks competitive with both Azure Fly and Barney Dwan runners up in the two divisions of the Novice Riders race at Barbury Castle likely to be at the forefront of fancied horses. Cheltenham Mati was just over a length behind Azure Fly and will be in the mix again. Network Rouge won two races in 2019 but missed last season and may need the race. Workbench finished second at Maisemore Park but was pulled up on his last outing when Roc D’Apsis finished second. Three Faces West runs well in these type of races and might be good enough to prevail for trainer Bethen Childs.
The Open Maiden race has attracted an entry of 43 horses so with a safety factor of 18 there is every chance that this race will be divided into at least two if not three races. Of those with form to date Banana Joe from Melanie Rowley’s stable was second at Kimble and looks promising, Charles Ritz made a pleasing debut at Wadebridge, Montarlot was a close third in a Restricted race at the last Larkhill meeting, Shamilan was beaten by the narrowest of margins at Chaddesley Corbett and One for Mamma was runner up over a shorter trip at Chaddesley Corbett. All of these would have chances but notice should be taken of the newcomers from the strong stables of Francesco Nimmo and Christopher Barber. Gold of Win Potier and Rhetoric are both from Francesco’s yard and are worth noting whereas Lady Ellie represents Christopher’s stable. Guatemala Le Dun brings French form with him and a chance is taken on him to continue Emma Yardley’s good start to the season.
The final race, the Maiden race for horses who must have run twice already, has received an entry of 24 horses and Trooper Jones who was third behind Famous Clermont and Scipion looks the potential form horse. Cotton Rock was a promising third behind Maitree Express at the last meeting, I’m Wiser Now was narrowly beaten at Barbury Castle and The Whiskey Man was beaten by the Thechaseison last January so all hold chances on their best form. Raffle Ticket is the only winner in the field having won a Bumper at Barbury in December 2019 and he was 4th in his fencing debut at Horseheath in February 2020.