The Racing Foundation Supports Racing Charities Handicap Chase kicked off the action behind closed doors on Friday 11th December. Yourholidayisover looked to be travelling the strongest of the field turning for home under Lorna Brooke. However the pairwere firmly in the sights of Gavin Sheehan who had sat behind the leaders for all of the two miles and eventually wore down the veteran aboard Eurkash for trainer Paul Webber.
Knocknamona returned to form when winning the Racing Welfare Handicap Chase. The winner of the same race back in 2017 and trained by Micky Hammond, the nine-year-old travelled smoothly in midfield under Alain Cawley before going into the lead three from home and readily pulling clear to finish eight lengths ahead of his nearest rival Khairagash.
After training the second in the previous race, Venetia Williams went one better and trained Snuff Box to success the Alfa Aggregate Products Golden Spurs Handicap Chase. Her runners are always ones to keep an eye on when the underfoot conditions are on the softer side and Snuff Box was no exception when staying on gamely down the home straight under Robbie Dunne to deny the efforts of Fortescue and the strong travelling Dieu Vivant.
Harry Skelton gave Robin Gold an extremely patient winning ride in the Buy Christmas Cards @ijf.org.uk Handicap Hurdle. The mare, who won in similar style under Harry’s wife Bridget 20 days earlier, was last of the quartet for the majority of the two circuits of Bangor-on-Dee before being shaken up on the home turn to nudge out the positively ridden Exod’ela cosily by a length.
Another well timed ride and thrilling finish in the Racing To School 20 Next Year “Hands And Heels” Handicap Hurdle saw Liam Harrison and Ragamuffin land the spoils for Neil Mulholland. The young jockey, who won a similar race at the previous Bangor-on-Dee meeting, sat on the heels of the leaders turning in before coming with a run between the last two flights. Despite an error at the last, the odds-on favourite found just enough on the run in to get up in the shadows of the post. The winning distance was just a nose to Bang On, and a further neck to Barantineur.
A smart performance in the Retraining Of Racehorses Novices’ Hurdle saw Minella Drama romp to victory for Donald McCain and champion jockey Brian Hughes. Despite a penalty and the heavy ground conditions, the five-year-old sauntered to an impressive 12 length win after easily drawing clear of his rivals in the home straight with a flash of his tail for good measure.
Irish Point to Point winner, Lesser struck on his rules debut in the concluding race of the afternoon, the Support The Injured Jockeys’ Fund Intermediate Open National Hunt Flat Race. Even though showing some greenness under Daniel Hiskett, the six-year-old, after nearly a year without a run, made it two wins out of two career starts and looks an exciting recruit for Richard Phillips.
The final fixture at Bangor-on-Dee in 2020 is Sunday 20th December. This meeting will be held Behind Closed Doors but will be available to watch live on Sky Sports Racing.