MILITARY point-to-point organisers say they are ‘immensely grateful’ to Defence Secretary Ben Wallace for saving the Larkhill Racecourse from closure.

The point-to-point racing season sees the Royal Artillery take centre stage on Saturday, January 21 after the MoD had threatened to close the course at the end of 2023 and use the land for more army training.

Salisbury Journal: Larkhill RacecourseLarkhill Racecourse (Image: Freelancer)

Andrew Ritche, chairman of Larkhill Racecourse, said: “We mounted a campaign to save the racecourse in October and were delighted that Ben Wallace, the Defence Secretary, overturned the earlier MOD decision and directed that a new lease be issued to Larkhill Racecourse with immediate effect.  We are immensely grateful to him.

“Our campaign emphasised the value of the racecourse to the people of Wiltshire and neighbouring counties and to point-to-point racing throughout the country.  

“We received an overwhelmingly positive response within days and it was this which led Ben Wallace to intervene.  

“I would like to thank all those who helped to achieve this important result for the local civilian and military communities and for everyone who loves racing. This racecourse is not for closing!”

The course is particularly popular with racehorse trainers throughout the Wessex region and amateur riders who use it to give their horses a run out over the fences.

An enthusiast said: "It's very popular with racehorse trainers who want to give their horses a practice out over the jumps."

The military point-to-point is expecting around 70 race entries and will raise funds for the Royal Artillery Charitable Foundation kicking off the day at 11am with a charity side saddle race over seven furlongs.

Entries for the racing close on Monday (January 9) and course officials say the going is likely to be good - with one joking about the notoriously brutal conditions at Larkhill by saying: “Obviously, that is weather dependent!”

Point-to-Point horse racing is for amateur jockeys riding over 18 fences for three miles. The course has seen many good horses progress from the point-to-point world to professional jump racing.

The major sponsor is INEOS which will be demonstrating its GRENADIER 4x4. Tickets on the gate are £15 with under 16s free.

Plenty of parking is available. The postcode for the course is SP4 8QR and it is signposted off the Amesbury to Upavon road A345.

Check the Wessex Point-to-Point website – for updates before travelling.

The Combined Services Point-to-Point will take place at Larkhill Racecourse on Sunday, February 5.