BARBURY racecourse, the beautifully located course situated high on the Marlborough Downs, hosts the first of its four meetings this season on Sunday(November 26), writes Jake Exelby.

There is a noon kick-off and a total entry of 91 in the six races.

The Mixed Open, the main event, has the biggest number of entries on the card (25) of the card.

They include Cheltenham hunter chase winners Lilbitluso (Joe O’Shea) and Full Trottle (Laura Thomas) and last season’s John Corbet victor Now Ben.

Trainer Phil Rowley said of his course-winning nine-year-old: “He’s really well and there’s not a lot else to say about him. I’m happy with him, although he may need the run.”

The Aintree Foxhunters is the long-term target for Full Trottle and Laura Thomas said: “He’s in really good form – bouncing around and misbehaving enough to let me know he’s well! He goes on most ground and I hope he’s in as good form as last year.”

Now Ben was fourth in a driving finish here last January, the winner being Vincitore, who came with a wet sail under Sarah Rippon.

The vivacious ‘Ripper’, who trains from Henrietta Knight's illustrious West Lockinge yard, is hoping for a repeat.

“I’m champing at the bit and on my way to the gym right now,” she laughed. “I’ve been trying hard to keep fit and have been doing boot camp by riding a lot of horses for Harry Whittington.

"The horse is super-well and raring to go, but I said something unprintable when I saw the entries and will be keeping an eye on the ground – if it stays good to soft, we’ll take our chances.”

Sacre Toi showed useful pointing form last year and will be a debut race-ride for 16-year-old George Daly, nephew of trainer Henry.

“George rode a pony that I trained for his mother Louise,” new trainer Julie Mansell told me of how she came by the horse. “He’s got experience in pony races and hunting – (husband) David and I thought he’d learn more riding in an Open than against novices.

Talking of professional trainers, two faces more usually seen under rules may be represented as owners here – Nicky Henderson with Ericht, the mount of daughter Camilla, and Oliver Sherwood with Rouge Et Blanc. Big Casino and Desert Sting are others dropping back from the professional game worth looking at, while Mon Parrain and Pentiffic have hunter chase form.

The Jockey Club Mares Maiden series has 21 races this year, and 12 have been entered for their first event of the season.

The best pointing form on show here is represented by local trainer Axelle Wall’s Festival Dawn, second at Chaddesley Corbett, for whom Will Biddick is an intriguing booking, The course is located 3m NW of Marlborough (10m from Exits 15 & 16 of the M4). The main entrance is off the Marlborough to Broad Hinton road. SN8 1RS. Entry is £10 per person on the day.

For more information about the meeting, including an early bird ticket offer for online booking, visit Visit for a full list of entries for this meeting.