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The Larkhill Racing Club
Larkhill
Sunday 4th January 2015
by Brian & Gill Armstrong

Henley trainer Jack Barber and three-time National Champion jockey Will Biddick combined for a double with Conditions race winner Subtle Sovereign and Men's Open winner Benedictus at busy Larkhill, where two races were divided and 112 of the 144 entries went to post. Subtle Sovereign raced alongside runner-up Kazuri Kate (Claire Hart) throughout before asserting over the final three fences. "He was my first winner as a trainer, last as a jockey and this is his third win here," smiled Jack, clearly delighted with his 8yo charge. Benedictus gave his new owners immediate success when benefiting from a vintage holdup ride to lead from Perfectly Willing (Mark Wall) and 6/4F Quinz (Joe Hill) approaching the last. "I sold him to Graham Cotton, Ray Barrow, Robert Trevarthen, Michael Twyford, Cyril Moate and John Irish, partly at my owners' day and partly before," revealed Jack. "It's too early to make plans we'll just take it one race at a time."

Jack and Will's hopes of a treble were dashed when Ask The Weatherman's renewed effort in the first Restricted was denied by Native Pride and jockey Max Kendrick, who had rerouted from Plumpton. "Pauline and Denis [Moylan] bought Native Prince at Doncaster in May," said Brackley trainer Joan Johnston, who rode King Neon to win the prestigious John Corbet Cup hunter chase in 1987. "He's my first winner for some time too long between drinks anyway but 8,000 looks a bit of a bargain now."

Icthec and Jepeck followed their wins at the season's Black Forest Lodge opener by dead-heating in the second Restricted. Peter Mason's mount, Icthec, looked to have sealed victory with the better jump at the last, but Jamie Thomas drove Jepeck back alongside to share the spoils on the line.

The Waley-Cohens' homebred Storm Lantern followed up his easy December course success in equally emphatic style in the second Conditions race. Patiently ridden by Sam Waley-Cohen, Storm Lantern led on the bridle two out before trotting up ahead of his 10 rivals. "He finished second in his first four point-to-points, now he's won his last three," pointed out owner-trainer Robert Waley-Cohen. The difference is that he's learned to settle." Stratford's Subaru Restricted Point-to-Point Series Final at the end of May might be a long term target.

Current Event will be aimed at the Cheltenham or Aintree Foxhunter after recording his seventh successive win in the AGA Ladies Open. Pacesetter Posh Totty still led by two lengths at the last but had no answer when Bryony Frost pressed the button aboard Current Event.

Simply Charles held on to take the first Maiden for Redmarley owner-trainers John and Hilary Parrott. "Bought as a foal [at Tattersalls Ireland November 2007 National Hunt Sale], very easy to do at home, schools regularly including twice this week, jumps well and could go hunter chasing," summed up Hilary.

Fred and Caroline Hutsby have a nice prospect on their hands after Vertical Glen showed the benefit of a soft palate operation by sprinting home under Tom Ellis in the second Maiden. "He couldn't get up the hill when making his debut at Mollington in April but the operation has made all the difference," felt Fred.

Results

Going: Good, good to soft in places
Entries: 144; runners: 112 (78%)

Larkhill Racing Club Members Conditions (Div 1) (13 ran)
1. Subtle Sovereign (IRE) (W Biddick, 6-4F); 2. Kazuri Kate (Miss C. Hart, 14-1); 3. Stress (IRE) (A. Wright, 10-1). 6min 08s. 3l, 4l. (Jack Barber)

Larkhill Racing Club Members Conditions (Div 2) (11 ran)
1. Storm Lantern (S Waley-Cohen, 9-4); 2. Goodnight Vienna (IRE) (J Hill, 7-1); 3. Merry Terry (M Legg, 25-1). 6min 07s. 9l, 6l. (Robert Waley-Cohen)

AGA Ladies Open (12 ran)
1. Current Event (FR) (Miss B Frost, 1-2F); 2. Posh Totty (Miss P Fuller, 8-1); 3. Pateese (FR) (Miss H. Watson, 4-1). 6min 06s. 6l, 3l. (Rose Loxton)

Open Maiden (Div 1) 567&8yo (18 ran)
1. Simply Charles (IRE) (S Drinkwater, 3-1); 2. Porlock Bay (IRE) (D Edwards, 7-1); 3. Dabinett Moon (Miss C Hart, 20-1). 6min 15s. 2l, hd. (Hilary Parrott)

Open Maiden (Div 2) 567&8yo (15 ran)
1. Vertical Glen (IRE) (T Ellis, 5-1); 2. General Girling (Philip Thomas); 3. Thereyarsee (R Henderson). 6min 12s. 15l, 1l. (Fred Hutsby)

Mens Open (18 ran)
1. Benedictus (IRE) (W Biddick, 7-2); 2. Perfectly Willing (IRE) (M Wall, 10-1); 3. Quinz (FR) (J Hill, 6-4F). 6min 05. 6l, 2l. (Jack Barber)

Restricted (Div 1) (12 ran)
1. Native Pride (IRE) (M Kendrick, 12-1); 2. Ask The Weatherman (W Biddick, 5-4F); 3. What About Will (IRE) (Miss V. Wade, 7-1). 6min 10s. 3l, 5l. (Joan Johnston)

Restricted (Div 2) (13 ran)
=1. Icthec (IRE) (P Mason, 10-1); =1. Jepeck (IRE) (Jamie Thomas, 7-2F); 3. Heads Or Tails (IRE) (J Andrews, 5-1). 6min 15s. 10l. (Peter Mason)

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