Look out for a Welsh raid on Larkhill
Larkhill hosts its sixth meeting of the season on Saturday as the Avon Vale Races reach the start line, writes Bob Bracher. It will be another opportunity for all of the family to enjoy an afternoon’s racing as well as participating in a family dog show starting at 12.30 plus the usual trade stands, bar, bookmakers and the Taste Team who will be offering spectators a range of local produce to sample and purchase. There will be early bird admission at £8 until 6pm on Friday evening at www.avonvaleraces.com
The feature race, the Goodman Nash Mixed Open race, has attracted a strong entry of ten horses, with Green Winter a winner at the last meeting being one of the main fancies. Now trained by James Ridley but still ridden by Zac Baker he should come on for his seasonal debut and might be too good for his rivals. Coco Live has improved rapidly this season and already has won three times at Larkhill this season and is going for a five timer having also won at Badbury Rings. The Last But One has been very consistent this season for Tom Malone but also holds an entry at Cotley which may be easier. William Money was a prolific winner last season but has yet to get his head in front this season. If travelling from Wales he would certainly come into the reckoning. High Hatton would an alternative ride for Jack Tudor but he has not run this season whereas Theatre Evening gave owner Charlotte Brown a tremendous ride in his Hunt race last week and will enjoy the faster going.
The other principal race is the second running of the James McNeile Celebration Chase for Veteran and Novice riders, underwritten this year by national sponsor Pertemps Network. An entry of fourteen horses has been received for this including The Last But One, Theatre Evening and William Money all entered in the Mixed Open. Johnny Farrelly has entered both Gingili and Victory Mill with the former having easily won a similar race at Ston Easton last weekend. Adrenalin Flight enjoys his racing at Larkhill and is one to consider. However Vivaldi Collonges has won two of these races already this season for his young rider and may be able to secure a hat trick for trainer James Owen. Top Chief is another interesting potential runner – a prolific point to point winner he was trained during last summer by Colin Tizzard and secured two wins at Newton Abbot and he might surprise some of his more fancied rivals.
The meeting begins with the Boden Confined Hunts race where the promising Raging Fire holds an entry. The winner of a Maiden at Chipley Park he was disappointing at Charlton Horethorne but may find the quicker surface at Larkhill more to his liking. He is inexperienced compared to his rivals so others to consider are Doctor’s Differ who has just had one run this season in January and will certainly like the better going. Bedrock Fred likes it as firm as possible whereas Victory Mill might be declared for this race rather than the Novice riders race and might be a sporting choice.
The Investec Wealth & Investment Conditions race for ten year olds and over holds entries for Adrenalin Flight, Bedrock Fred and High Hatton already mentioned. Ballycahane ran well when chasing home Coco Live at the last meeting and a repeat of that form might be good enough. Dandan likes a faster surface and could be another one to consider in this open looking race.
The remainder of the meeting is made up with two Maiden races, the first for 4, 5 and 6 year olds. Fran Nimmo has two entries in this race namely Breaking the Ice and Third Time Lucki who have both finished runner up on their debuts. Her chosen representative would be the selection. The other Maiden also contains two entries from Fran Nimmo’s stable in the form of debutants Imperial Hill and Might Flight and again her chosen runner may be the one to follow. Mahler Style has yet to run this season for new trainer Alan Walter but she has shown bits and pieces of form in Ireland in particular when finishing third to Swift Native in a Mares Maiden at Largy and if either of the debutants fail to shine she may pick up the pieces.