Event previews

PREVIEW: NEW FOREST AT LARKHILL - SUNDAY 15TH MARCH 2020

  • Posted: Tuesday, 10th March 2020
  • Author: Bob Bracher

The fifth of seven meetings scheduled at Larkhill, Britain’s busiest Point-to-Point course, takes place on Sunday when the New Forest Hounds hold their meeting. Following the abandonment of the Blackmore and Sparkford Vale fixture last weekend, a very good entry of 117 horses has been received for the six races. Prior to racing there will be a Charity Flat Race at 11.30am, and pony racing after the Point-to-Point races. The latest going report is that it is currently good to soft but is likely to go back to good by the day of the meeting.

The highlight of the meeting is the Earlcote Construction-sponsored Mixed Open over the shorter distance of two-and-a-half miles. A competitive entry of 17 has been received, and there may be a rematch between Captain Buck's and Faraway Star who fought out a match at the last meeting with the latter just prevailing in a very close finish. Captain Buck's is clearly able but is a quirky individual and notoriously difficult to win with. Green Winter is an interesting candidate in this shorter race, as his best form is over longer trips and his runs this season shows he is still capable of winning a Mixed Open. Curious Carlos narrowly beat Sixteen Letters at Badbury and had very good form under Rules to his name when trained by Peter Bowen. Cold March is an interesting recruit to pointing for the Henderson family, having won four chases but has not run since January 2019. Coco Live was rather disappointing in the Coronation Gold Cup but another chance is given to this Larkhill specialist, who is trained within sight of the course.

The meeting opens with the Oriental Club-sponsored Owner-Trainer Conditions Race, for which 16 are entered. This is a new series of races across the country sponsored by The Oriental Club, and this is the first in the Wessex area. Fleur du Pommier has reeled off three victories this season with the assistance of Alex Edwards, and the partnership are in excellent form. However, this is a stiffer task against more-experienced rivals and her winning run may come to an end. Cold March holds an entry in this race and would be of interest if race-fit. Ptit Zig ought to come on for his outing in the Coronation Gold Cup and this former classy inmate of Paul Nicholls yard would come into the reckoning. Rien du Tout won a Restricted at the last Larkhill meeting and is on the upgrade. Country Legend won four races last season and had a perfectly respectable seasonal debut when fourth in a similar race at Badbury. She is chosen to resume her winning ways.

Moore Blatch Solicitors sponsor the Restricted, for which eighteen entries have been received. Voie Dans Voie, trained by Laura Thomas, has been consistent this season and this might be an opportunity to secure a Restricted victory. Happy Larry won a Maiden at the last meeting, whereas Drakes Well won a Maiden last season at the course. Philip Rowley has entered Caliente and his forays to Larkhill have been profitable this season. Arcal Fifty runs well at Larkhill but did not enjoy the soft ground at Milborne when last seen. Truly Spoken won her only start at Barbury Castle last season but has not been seen since December 2018; she might be the one to give Voie Dans Voie the most to do.

The Novice Riders' Race, sponsored by Lascar Electronics, may see the reappearance of the veteran Adrenalin Flight, already the winner of four Point-to-Points, and the likely mount of Charlie Pike. Azure Fly won a similar race at Cocklebarrow and is in good form. Theatre Evening and Thereyarsee both boast winning Larkhill form but the race might be between Vivaldi Collonges, who will be ridden by Ben Bromley, and Victarion, the likely mount of Isaac Buncle, who has won races when trained by Philip Hobbs and remains in the ownership of Diana Whateley. A chance is taken on the last-named to defy his absence from the course.

The remaining races on the card are two Maidens.

The first is an Open Maiden, sponsored by Horse Health, for which 31 horses have been entered. Of those with form, Dawn Sunrise ran well at Badbury to finish runner-up to Revels Hill; Falloway Dubreau was travelling well until falling on his latest outing; Montarlot was placed in Maidens last season; and Wykham was a very promising fourth on his debut in January. However, with a number of strong stables entering their four-year-olds who receive a large weight concession from the older horses, it is likely that the winner will come from one of these. Fran Nimmo has Arressveepee and San Fermin, and there are two Tom Lacey-owned horses, namely Kaphumor and Scipion, the latter named out of a mare called Morning Calm, bred by The Queen, who has already produced two winners.

The other Maiden, for four-, five- and six-year-olds and run over two miles and four furlongs, again contains a number of unraced horses, with representation from Fran Nimmo, Liam Treadwell, Philip Rowley and Christopher Barber, who has entered Miltiades. Of those with form, Kinondo Kwetu was second at Chaddesley Corbett and may use the experience to best advantage. Bespoke Cave was placed at the last Larkhill meeting and Thanks a Million was fourth at Milborne. An inspection of the newcomers in the paddock may be the best suggestion.

The first Point-to-Point race is at 12.30pm. The course is 5m NW of Amesbury nr A303, A345 and A 360 – SP4 8QT – and follow signs). Admission £10 per person, under-16s free, racecards £3.