by Brian & Gill Armstrong

Spectators enjoyed an excellent day's racing at the United Services Point-to-Point meeting at Larkhill on Saturday. Highlights included a close finish to the feature Coronation Cup, while there were doubles for Enmore trainer Laura Young and for jockey Alex Charles-Jones.

The opening United Services Past & Present Club Members' race went to the Ollie Ellwood-partnered Ciara's Prince who held off Barryscourt Lad, ridden by owner Jo Holmes, with Legal Storm in third. Ciara's Prince will now be aimed at the Duke Of Gloucester Memorial Hunters' Chase at Sandown on 8th March, while the promising Barryscourt Lad will contest the Grand Military Gold Cup on the same card.

Laura Young's double came in the two Divisions of the Restricted. Quetal took Division 1 under Richard Young (no relation to Laura) when getting the better of favourite Maybe The Business, with Dramatic Approach in third. Quetal was making his first appearance for Broomfield owner Kaaren Kitching who bought the horse at the June 2001 Ascot Sales. Travelling Jack and Alex Charles-Jones completed Laura's double in Division 2 after a sustained battle with runner-up Mr Leroi. Bradford-on-Tone owner Martin Rowe had moved house the previous day, but was present to greet his winner before returning home to continue unpacking. Martin bought Travelling Jack as a four-year-old from breeder Fiona Walker, the Taunton Vale Point-to-Point Secretary.

There was a close finish to the Coronation Cup with Supremism and Leslie Jefford getting the verdict by a short head from Fair Wind, with longtime leader Romany Chat 20 lengths back in third. Supremism is trained at Chalmington by owner Helen Rees, wife of Cattistock Point-to-Point Secretary Rupert Rees. Supremism is possibly best suited by a 2½ mile trip, but he has plenty of speed and looks one to follow in the future.

Alex Charles-Jones completed his double when taking the Intermediate on Shobrooke Mill from longtime leader Jimmy Greenspoon with Strong Tea in third. Shobrooke Mill, who is trained by owner-breeders Sarah and Henry Prouse at their Shobrooke farm near Exeter, won in the Show Ring before embarking on his point-to-point career.

Division 1 of the Open maiden resulted in a very easy win for Vercheny, a fifth winner of the season for Polly Gundry. Vercheny is trained at Sidbury by Monique Pike for Priddy owner-breeder Gerald Tanner whose colours have been carried in the past by such fine horses as Celtic Leisure and Ryming Cuplet.

Ashley Farrant rode his sixth winner of the season when the David Pipe-trained Timpani took Division 2 of the Open Maiden. Timpani, who ran in four races under Rules in 2001 for trainer Nigel Twiston-Davies, was bought unbroken in Ireland a year ago by Walton-on-Thames owner John Duggan who has raced such good horses as Mistinguett, sixth in the 1998 Champion Hurdle, and Redemption. Liz Harrington's Annie Byers ran a fine race in second and is one to keep an eye out for in the future.

The next Wessex Area meeting is the South Dorset at Milborne St Andrew on Sunday 17th February. First race 12.00 noon.