Larkhill racing on Saturday
PUBLISHED: 13:00 31 December 2008 | UPDATED: 22:49 15 June 2010
All roads lead to Larkhill for a cracking day's racing at the Army point-to-point meeting this Saturday, January 3.
All roads lead to Larkhill for a cracking day's racing at the Army point-to-point meeting this Saturday, 3rd January. The Men's and Ladies' Open races - often targeted by trainers as "Cheltenham qualifiers" - take centre stage, but all six races (136 entries, first race 11.30am) have attracted quality entries and look sure to provide top-class fare.The Men's Open entry includes 2008 runner-up Buckby Lane, who beat subsequent Cheltenham Foxhunter hero Amicelli at Thorpe Lodge, and Man From Highworth, third last year at 100/1 before winning three Larkhill Opens, including the classic Coronation Cup. The 21 entries also feature Dunthrop winner We're Confused and Chilling Place, Gunship, Notanotherdonkey, Nykel and Sharp Jack, all winners under Rules. Wickford, winner of four of his 12 races in Ireland, including a Fairyhouse Chase in March, looks interesting. Owner Susan Humphreys could be represented by The Big Breakfast and Distant Thunder, the winner of four races under Rules and third, beaten two short-heads, in the William Hill Chase at the 2007 Cheltenham Festival. Distant Thunder is fancied to make a winning debut for Frome trainer Guy Landau.The Ladies' Open has a high-class 18-strong entry, including the Angela Rucker pair Honest Endeavour and Pirate Flagship, Balinova, Public Esteem and Tyneham, who is suited by a sound surface. The selection is Kiama, winner of six races last season including the PPORA Mares' Final at the Atherstone, the Cotley Members' - to the delight of owners Len and Rose Vickery - and the Exeter Intermediate Series Final, and third in the John Corbet Cup at Stratford. Charlie Fox had a stranglehold on this race with now-retired Red Brook Lad, and his impressive Dunthrop winner Turthen looks the danger, with Bill Dupont's strong stayer Brown Cockle, winner of four of his eight 2008 outings, fancied for the minor place.The opening Military Riders Club Members race (14 entries) could see established pointers up against some prolific newcomers. Who Else Knew, winner in 2007 and runner-up last season, heads the establishment and is joined by Vauterhill winner Cookies Bank, Jack's Present (three wins out of five in 2008), stable companions Blue Business and Pirate Flagship, and Independent Trader, the winner of an Irish point in May. The newcomers include Earth Man (three wins under Rules for Paul Nicholls), Foxspur (a win for Philip Hobbs), seven-time winner Harrycone Lewis, Rev Simon Beveridge's Orsus, and Youlbesolucky, a four-time winner for the Jonjo O'Neill stable. The newcomer challenge is strong, but Who Else Knew is the selection.The divided Maiden race could pose difficulty at this early stage of the season. Lord Lescribaa, Mr Dass, Pimbury, Red Law, Shaver Baines and The Last Optimist may be six to choose from in Division One. Cannington Brook and Pink Notes are two to consider in Division Two, but Aiteen Thirtythree is well regarded by connections and looks the one. The Restricted has received 41 entries including Farnogue, Its Danny Boy, Tango Witha Mango and Top Benefit, who have all already won this season. Meanus Dandy and Murdol are possibles, but Top Benefit coasted home at Dunthrop and can follow up for the in-form Julie Houldey/Dave Mansell combination.The course is found just NW of Amesbury on Salisbury Plain, easily reached off the A303 or A345. First race 11.30am. The entrance fee is £20 per car; £15 per car with a single occupant; £5 for pedestrians; under 14s free.