The 14th Regiment Royal Artillery staged the final Point-to-Point in the Wessex Area 2003 season at Larkhill Racecourse on Salisbury Plain on Wednesday evening (28th May). The highlight was a first-ever win for 16-year-old rider Emily Jane Harbour, while a double for Polly Gundry secured the Richard Noyce Memorial Trophy for the leading jockey at Larkhill in 2003.
The opening Ablington Challenge race, a 1½ mile charity flat race staged in aid of the Wiltshire Air Ambulance Appeal, went to Jazz Night who made most of the running under former conditional rider Sean Lycett, 30, who last rode under rules four years ago but hopes to get a licence to ride in point-to-points next season. Jazz Night is trained at Barnsley near Cirencester by Sean and owned by him in partnership with Peter Berryman.
The Confined went to Fair Wind and Polly Gundry who forged well clear for an easy win despite a slow jump at the last. Fair Wind has now won seven races for delighted Sixpenny Handley owner Rachel Bartlett since being bought unraced from Wally Sturt.
There was a close finish to the three-runner Ladies’ Open when Sue Woodhouse’s Badger Beer and Rilly Goschen fought back on the run-in to dead-heat with Ickford Okey, a first winner from just 10 rides for 16-year-old Emily Jane Harbour who is currently taking her O’Levels. Ickford Okey is trained at Emmington near Thame, Oxfordshire, by Emily Jane’s mother Sue for owner breeders Phil and Cathy Morgan.
There was another close finish in the Men’s Open when Porlock Hill and Neil Harris overcame a slipping saddle to catch Hot Plunge and James Owen in the last few strides with Four Are Wild back in third. Porlock Hill is trained by Jeremy Scott at his stables on the edge of Wimbleball Lake near Dulverton and has won four races this season for owner Gary Lever, who bought the horse privately from Sue Popham after he had failed to reach his reserve at Ascot Sales last year.
Barton Bandit made most of the running to take the Open Maiden race under Shane Walsh. This was a first-ever winner for Chepstow owners Ron and Michelle Harris who bought the horse out of Ginger McCain’s yard at Ascot Sales last October. Barton Bandit, who jumped especially well for Shane, has suffered from breathing problems but showed the benefit of a recent Hobday operation.
Polly Gundry completed her double in the closing Intermediate race when Fashion House led two out and held the renewed challenge of Mister Pepper and Alex Charles-Jones by ¾ length. Fashion House is owned and trained at Sidmouth by Stewart and Monique Pike who raced that fine horse Proud Sun a few years ago.
The Larkhill Specialist Awards for the 2003 season were won by Ease The Pressure (Leading Horse, owned by Ray Geddes), Polly Gundry (Leading Jockey), Richard Barber (Leading Trainer) and Charlie Fox (Leading Owner-trainer).