THE WESSEX Area point-to-point season continues at Larkhill today with the Royal Artillery meeting.
The fixture gets underway at 11.35am.
Gwanako, who provided 16-year-old Megan Nicholls with a first win between the flags three weeks ago, and Master Medic, unbeaten in six 2013 point-to-points and winner of Wincanton’s Lady Riders’ Series Final hunter chase, are the two to fight out the Royal Artillery Ladies Open.
Opposition may include Pat Tollit’s Brampton Bryan winner Invisible Man and the Stuart Penny-trained stable companions Latest Touch and Quedillac, the winner of four of his six Larkhill outings to date.
West Midlands trainer Phillip Rowley has entered Shouldhavehadthat, winner of three point-to-points including a Whitfield Men’s Open in June, while the Ruckers’ consistent Sagalyrique, who took his pointing tally to six at Cottenham on December 1, must be considered.
Out-and-out stayer Bubbly Breeze, unbeaten in three races between the flags for trainer-rider Ali Galliers-Pratt, and the Fullers’ Moscow Blaze, a facile winner of the Heythrop’s historic Lyon Trophy, may be the two to challenge Gwanako and Master Medic.
Bellsinni Ron and Coombe Hill, second and third behind subsequent Lord Ashton of Hyde’s Cup winner Rumbavu here a fortnight ago, look set to renew rivalry in the Men’s Open. Ethiopia, the winner of three points last season, Chaddesley Corbett winner Minella Stars, Cottenham third King’s Legacy and Lady Dudley Cup third Over The Phone are four for the short list.
Former top class staying hurdler Duc De Regniere, the winner of his only point-to-point to date, and Wadebridge third Song Sung Blue are two more to consider. Quedillac is interesting if connections take this route, but Thinkaboutthat won his last four 2013 races for Raymond and Evelyn Targett and can make a winning first appearance in open race company.
The 28 Intermediate entries include Theatre Queen, who lost her unbeaten record when dwelling at the start at Wadebridge. Ladfromhighworth, who may have found the Black Forest Lodge conditions too testing a fortnight ago, should be suited by Larkhill and can chase up Theatre Queen.
Over The Phone, Thinkaboutthat and Theatre Queen are among the 25 entries for the Conditions race, along with course specialist Parstara and 2013 Holnicote winner Trueflyingcolours. Noble Ben was top class a few seasons ago and may give punters a sporting run for their money.
The Maiden race will be run in three divisions. Ask The Weatherman, I’m No Turtle and recent Larkhill third Subtle Sovereign are three suggestions for Division One. Bonzo’s Copse, Celtic Intrigue, Cold Night and Sutton Storm have recent placed form and can challenged Larkhill Racing Club (LRC) last fence faller Third Chance in Division Two.
LRC runner-up Go On Henry, Black Forest Lodge second Village Whispers and Cocklebarrow runner-up He’s A Black Sheep are three to consider for Division Three.
Harriet Besent’s Deimne can retain the Hunt Members’ race, although Stan and Sally Rawlins’ 2012 winner Righteous Glory, Hilary McCall’s Beau Viveur and Godfrey Maundrell’s Minor Chord can give the titleholder something to think about.
Course directions: Located just north-west of Amesbury on Salisbury Plain, easily reached off the A303, A360 or A345.SatNav: SP4 8QT.
Photo: DENIS MURPHY/Sport4Salisbury