With not so much as a sneeze or cough to be heard, the brave and hardy horse-racing fraternity descended on Larkhill racecourse yesterday to battle it out for the honours at the annual Combined Services Point-to-Point race meeting. Although the field was a little thin, it was a lovely day on the Plain at this prestigious course located just outside what has become a building-site of Larkhill as the garrison footprint dramatically grows.

The rather quaint building played host to a fantastic mix of horse-loving folk who came to squander their money on futile bets with the bookies but enjoyed that ambiance, thrill of the racing and the great company. Several of the Team Army sponsors chose to sponsor races on the card and although not doing anything to bolster their winning bets it was nice to present trophies to owners, jockeys and stable lads in their moment of glory. Even the horses did not miss out as the odd sack of carrots was presented!

The combined Services Point to Point meeting relies heavily on sponsorship to allow the event to take place in such style and attract the quality field that it does, albeit this year somewhat depleted due to the equine flu scare. So thank you to the many sponsors who contributed, particularly the race sponsors of Fujitsu, Caterpillar, Leonardo, Boeing and of course Team Army, the charity.

Let’s hope they all take their flu jab next year and we will again see the horses return in 2020 to enjoy this notable racing over the fences on this challenging, long course which is a prelude to next month’s Cheltenham racing festival.

Tim Gibson hands over the impressive trophy at the end of the Fujitsu sponsored Coronation Gold Cup Mixed Open race

Liz Wakefield presents the proud owners the winning cup for the Team Army sponsored Conditions Race for Novice Riders

The winning jockey is presented a momento by Karen Dickenson for the Caterpillar Defence sponsored Maiden Conditions Race

The horse gets some carrots too!