LARKHILL’S first point-to-point meeting of the season takes place this Saturday, January 23, with the first race setting off at 11am.

The Ladies’ and Men’s Open races take centre stage, but 163 horses are entered across the seven-race card so there promises to be some top class racing action.

The Ladies’ Open has attracted 27 entries, including Turthen, winner of five of his six outings last season and runner-up in the Christies’ Foxhunter at the Cheltenham Festival in March 2009.

Last year’s winner, Zabenz, and Gold Medallist – high-class on the Flat for David Elsworth and over obstacles for Philip Hobbs – have claims, along with Coronation Cup winner Distant Thunder and his stable companion Back Is Back, a promising runner-up at Chaddesley Corbett in December.

Ex-chaser Theatre Diva, prolific winners Barneys Mate, Brown Cockle and Coombe Hill, and Mendip Farmers mare Sericina and Bampa Basterfield’s Skyhawk are all in with a shout.

The impressive 27-strong entry for the Men’s Open includes Gaelsbob and Distant Thunder, who fought out the finish of last season’s contest.

The four to choose from are Connolly’s Red Mills Intermediate Final winner Drybrook Bedouin, the formerly top-class Mister Banjo – who has been restricted to just two winning point-to-point outings in the last three seasons – the Waley-Cohen’s Chaddesley winner Roulez Cool and Jack Barber’s Thisthatandtother.

The Intermediate promises to be another high-class affair. Candidates include Labarynth, winner of three of her four races to date, William Somers and Front Page, who have both won point-to-points this season.

There are 35 entries for the 3-mile Maiden. Aussie Bay, who was favourite when falling at the first in the season’s opener at Black Forest Lodge, may make amends.

Dovecote Wood, a son of Champion Hurdler Flakey Dove, and Vintage Class are two to consider, but Richard Barber has a strong hand with Cappoquin, That'll Do and Why Not Silver, and his selected runner looks the one.

The 2½ mile Maiden has attracted 34 entries. Allerford Jack, Bobby On The Beat, Dovecote Wood and Earth Beat may be four to consider.

Godfrey Maundrell holds the key to the Hunt Members’ race and his choice from Lisadell King and Woodford winner Maglinn River will be the obvious market leader.

The meeting also stages the unique King’s Troop RHA Club Members race.

Rockport and Blackadder fought out last year’s finish and will be popular choices.

First race is at 11am and admission is £15 per car + driver; £5 each additional adult; under 14s free, £5 pedestrians.