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New post lockdown date for the Avon Vale

The latest lockdown ran a coach and horses through the admirable plans of the Point-to-Point Authority to compensate in some small way for the cancellation of last season with an early start to 2020-21. Although 3 fixtures were able to take place before the interruption, casualties included our own fixture at Larkhill, the Wheatland at Chaddesley, Dunsmore at Silverton, South East Hunts Club at Charing, Curre & Llangibby at Howick and the Border at Hexham.

However, through some deft repositioning, four of these fixtures have been rescheduled for December, including Wessex's first fixture of this season, the Avon Vale at Larkhill on Saturday December 12, making an appetising double-header weekend with Barbury's International the following day. The SEHC and Curre & Llangibby will transfer to December 20, whilst the Wheatland will go the day before the Harkaway on December 27.

This all presupposes, of course, that the lockdown is not extended beyond December 2.

Meanwhile, more immediately, a huge weekend's racing beckons at Cheltenham. Neil Mulholland, enjoying a good run at present, has entries across several races over the three days that feature the Paddy Power Gold Cup, including Milkwood in the Unibet Greatwood Hurdle on Sunday. He warmed up for the weekend with his second winner of the week today at Bangor, when Any News won the Maiden Hurdle easily under Sam Twiston-Davies to clock his 29th winner of the term.

Emma Lavelle sends a small team to Cheltenham, but in her own words, "some of our horses have needed a run". Dagueneau runs in Saturday's Intermediate Handicap Hurdle, worked well earlier this week and will be a lot sharper for his last run. She's hoping to run into a place at least.

She also reported news of the stable's two big stars. De Rasher Counter finished second in a pipe-opening hurdle at Newton Abbot giving 2 1/2 st to the winner, and gallops at Newbury next Tuesday. He is on target again for the Ladbrokes Trophy at the end of the month. Paisley Park will also gallop at Newbury and is targeted at the Long Distance Hurdle at the same meeting. He's a little bit lighter than in previous years.

Meanwhile, Alan King sends Harambe back to Cheltenham to attempt back to back victories in the Greatwood Hurdle, one of two fancied runners in the race, the other being Edwardstone.

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