Come on you wannabe jockeys!

If you've never tried your hand at race-riding, tomorrow is your chance to do this in the safety of a training area, as former professional rider Ryan Tongue teaches the rudiments of race riding on a mechanical horse at the Avon Vale Races at Larkhill. Ryan, who formerly worked for Ollie Greenall, is now plying his trade as a pundit and commentator, but rode successfully for several years, and is a tireless fundraiser for the Injured Jockeys Fund alongside David Crosse, formerly jockey coach to James McNeile. For a small donation, you can test your skill, or try your hand for the first time. And you don't have to make the scales to do it!

Going near perfect for the off

Race Committee representative Bob Fear and Senior Steward Mark Elgar walked the course at Larkhill this afternoon and pronounced themselves very satisfied with ground conditions. "The going is Good to Soft, soft in places, and has taken the snow then rain very well," reported Bob. "There's many a track would be very envious of the ground conditions at Larkhill for the Avon Vale Races." The weather forecast reports further rain over the next few days but nothing that Larkhill's resilient turf cannot handle.

Wadworths supports Outstanding Performance Award at Avon Vale

Wadworths, scion of Wiltshire brands with a family of internationally recognized beers to its name, is to lend its name to a new award at this Saturday's Avon Vale Races. The brand has been involved for over 30 years in the event from a time when the Bartholemew family were heavily involved in the running of the Avon Vale Hunt. The new award will celebrate excellence during the day in the form of an Outstanding Performance Award for the owner, keeper or rider adjudged to have put up the most remarkable performance of the day. This could be a training or riding effort, even a contribution by a stable hand, not necessarily by a race winner. Peter McNeile, for the Avon Vale Committee, remarked,

Quality shines through big entry at Larkhill

The Avon Vale hold their meeting at Larkhill on Easter Saturday and with good going currently forecast there should be some very competitive racing amongst the seven race card, writes Bob Bracher. In addition to the racing there will be a lot of Easter activities including an Easter Egg Hunt for under 16s at 12 noon, a Fun Dog Show from 12.30pm and an equicizor on site with tutoring from a professional rider. There will be a race (the Veteran and Novice race) to celebrate the life and sporting endeavour of James McNeile who tragically lost his life at this meeting last year and 50 members of the recently formed Fan Club will be in attendance. There will be an exit collection and a donation m

Avon Vale Bell tolls for Alex

As meeting after meeting falls prey to this wet winter, Alex Bell is aiming Ni Sin Mo Ainm at Easter Saturday's Avon Vale Races and the Goodman Nash Mixed Open, the feature race on the seven race programme. The 10 year old has launched Alex on to the Point-to-Point scene with 4 wins to date at Open level. "He's the perfect Novice ride,"says Alex. "I bought him out of Neil Mulholland's yard, and I've now been racing him three seasons. He's won four Opens, including most recently at the Albrighton at Chaddesley Corbett in February. I couldn't have wished for a better introduction to race-riding." Alex is the latest in a growing line of lady jockeys proving that gender counts for very little wh

Kayley Woolacott targets race for former rider James McNeile

Kayley Woollacott is targeting the James McNeile Trophy for Veteran & Novice Riders at the Avon Vale Races meeting on Easter Saturday with Minella Half Century. It’s a tale of two tragedies that could yet have a bitter-sweet chapter still to come. James McNeile, enthusiastic amateur rider from Bromham in Wiltshire, who took up race-riding in his fifties, had enjoyed success with horses trained by Richard and Kayley Woollacott, and purchased Minella Half Century in Spring 2016, only for colic to necessitate bypassing the whole of last season. James died during a racing fall at the corresponding meeting at Larkhill on April 1st 2017 before he’d been able to ride the horse in a race. Tragedy me

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