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Hursley Hambledon
Saturday 13th December 2014
by Cameron Crawford-Smith

Larkhill has staged many point to points but none quite like this! With Father Christmas making an appearance, race cards sold by elves and hot mulled wine and mince pies on offer, the atmosphere was good humoured and seasonal. Following the charity race held in aid of the air ambulance, won by Rebecca Allison on Model Rebel, the frivolities were put aside ready for some serious quality racing.

The card began with the Hursley Hambledon Hunt Members, Subscribers and Farmers Race sending out a small but select field of three runners. Penny Lownds, having trained a winner the previous week at Barbury, saddled  Billesley Road who was settled in the rear by Ciaran Gethings for the duration of the race. He made his move to pass West Cork Flash, the long-time leader, coming around the final bend and went on to win ahead of Terra Bleu running on to be second and West Cork Flash in third.

Twelve runners lined up in the Thames Valley Club Members Conditions Race in what turned out to be the most dramatic race of the day! With five horses unseating early on in the race, Quinz, the well backed 11-10 favourite jumped well for Joe Hill and finished strongly. Time For Spring put in a much improved performance to finish second and Ring Bo Ree took third place with only two other finishers.

Current Event gave his supporters many an anxious moment in the Equestrian Fencing Services Ladies Race that followed but it was Bryony Frost's amazing recovery when he blundered at the third from home that drew audible gasps from the crowd. Such a blunder would have stopped many horses in their tracks but not Current Event who showed a good turn of foot to go on and win. Richard Bandey's very game and consistent gelding Alskamatic took second and Ballyjames placed third in this competitive seven runner contest.
Will Biddick gained his first win of the day when he partnered Aerial in the Moore Blatch Mens Open Race where nine lined up to take their chance. Previously with Paul Nicholls, the Jack Barber trained gelding gave a fine display of jumping and is certainly one to follow this season. Babeny Bridge finished second and as a five year old looks to have a very bright future whilst Heathyards Flyer put in a much improved performance to finish in third place.

Storm Lantern carrying the Waley-Cohen colours took the restricted race although you couldn't help feeling for the connections of Gift of Dreams who must have thought they had it in the bag at the last. Held up for the majority of the race amongst the twelve runners, Pete Mann gave the horse a great ride and unleashed him in the final straight to win from Gift of Dreams in second and What About Will in third.

There was a double celebration on the cards in the Rutland Open Maiden Race for Will Biddick. Having previously partnered Aerial in the Mens Open he went on to ride Themanfromcork to victory in this sixteen runner race. General Girling matched his second place at Black Forest Lodge meeting last time out and Out of Range finished third.

Larkhill stages its next meeting for the Larkhill Racing Club on Sunday 4th January 2015. The next Sandhurst area meeting will be the Vine & Craven's at Barbury Castle on Sunday 15th February.

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