Rustic John landed his third Larkhill success, but his first for Westonbirt retired farmer John Hatherell and Chippenham trainer Mike Hawker, in the New Forest Mixed Open on Saturday. Mark Wall set a good gallop and the 11-year-old was always in command of his five rivals who could never quite get on terms. "I bought him at the Johnny Manners Dispersal Sale in June", said John, adding his first point-to-point success to a previous winner under Rules. "I rode my first winner here in this race 30 years ago", added Mike, whose other pointer, Sheknowsyouknow, had won the Duke of Beaufort's Hunt race a fortnight earlier.
Mike's nephew, Robert Hawker, was in the winner's enclosure with Lilac Wine, who forged seven lengths clear after the second last in the Mares' Maiden. "We bought her privately out of Dominic French Davis' yard", explained Calne owner-trainers Gerald and Alex Burton, whose Ruud Revenge won at Chaddesley Corbett in February. "It's third time lucky for Lilac Wine here at Larkhill, and although our son, Sam, was last in the 138cm Pony race earlier today, we've taken the winner She's Wicked on loan, so Sam's got something to look forward to as well".
Karshaan and Sam Allwood justified 2/7 favouritism to make it two out of two this season in the Confined. "We were in two minds whether to run, but we would like to go hunter chasing and you won't find a fairer test than this", said Larkhill fence builder Andy Ross, who heads Karshaan's syndicate of owners.
Grant Cann introduced a nice prospect when I'm In Charge (Amanda Bush) sauntered home in the 2m 4f Maiden. "I bought him at the Goffs June 2010 Land Rover Sale, but he failed to sell at Cheltenham's NH Breeze Up Sales in December. We'll probably aim him at a bumper now", summed up Grant.
Philip Prince, who completed the course on Distant Thunder in the previous day's Cheltenham Christie's Foxhunter, brought Preacher Boy to collar 1/3F Barneys Mate (Harry Derham) 25 yards from the line in the Novice Riders' race. "Philip rode his first point-to-point winner in this race last year on Spanchil Hill", recalled Philip's father, Richard Prince. "We had a brilliant day at Cheltenham yesterday and I hope we can go back one day with a real chance".
Lutteur Bleu confirmed his liking for Larkhill when making all in the Restricted under Robbie Henderson. "Lutteur Bleu loves Larkhill, loves firm ground and he'll be back for the South & West Wilts Hunt race he won last season", confirmed Sutton Montis trainer Angela Davis, mother of Lutteur Bleu's 19-year-old owner Charlotte Davis.
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