After a wet few weeks and the unfortunate abandonment of Countryside Day, Wednesday 13 November was host to the 14th Annual Anne Duchess of Westminster’s Charity Day.
The chosen charity for the day was the Tarporley War Memorial Hospital. Lunch was served to around 350 guests of the Anne Duchess of Westminster Charity where a live auction took place. A silent auction in the Paddock Enclosure offered a variety of excellent lots including hospitality at a future Bangor-on-Dee fixture and a tasting menu experience at the Chester Grosvenor. After a successful day, Tarporley War Memorial Hospital were absolutely delighted raise over £60,000 exceeding their £50,000 target, a staggering amount.
As well as fabulous fundraising, seven races took place, showcasing the highest calibre of racing on the Bangor-on-Dee calendar.
The Friends of Tarporley War Memorial Hospital Handicap Chase kicked off the afternoon’s action. Pace setter Mr McGo was closely followed by Arctic Gold for most of the contest but were passed turning in by the eventual winner Zolfo who was given a patient ride by Sean Quinlan. The Jennie Candlish trained runner, has now won over course and distance on three occasions.
Alsa Mix took the win in the Masterstroke & Scalo Yorton Stallions Mares’ Novices’ Chase. The only Listed race on the Bangor-on-Dee calendar was an event to savour as three mares jumped the last fence together, providing racegoers with a brilliant finish! Relishing the ground on her seasonal return, the grey Alsa Mix took a while to respond to pressure under Tom Bellamy but stayed on to prevail by a short head to the Irish challenger Agusta Gold. Already grade 2 winner over hurdles, the 7 year old hopefully has a bright future over the larger obstacles.
Another mare stole the show as Graceful Legend took it to the boys in the Ann Duchess of Westminster Memorial Handicap Chase for trainer Ben Case. The hattrick seeking Commodore led for most of the three-mile contest under Charlie Deutsch, and remained in contention before a sprawling mistake at the last. He was then passed from all angles, including the eventual winner, who ran on well in the testing underfoot conditions for jockey Kielan Woods.
Jepeck never saw a rival in the Equerry Horse Feeds Novices’ Hurdle as he was guided to an effortless success by jockey Rex Dingle. A fairly useful chaser, the 10-year-old was making his hurdling debut after eight months off the track. His racecourse experience worked to his advantage over his much younger rivals who struggled to land a blow in behind.
Another impressive victory came in the Alex Timpson Handicap Hurdle as Chti Balko cruised to victory under Will Kennedy. On his second run after a wind operation and proven form in the ground the seven-year-old led the field at a sensible tempo for most of the contest but pushed on turning for home, leaving the others in his wake. Locally trained by the course’s leading trainer Donald McCain, Chti Balko was led into the winner’s enclosure by his delighted daughter Abbie.
A quick-fire double came in the Swan Tarporley Juvenile Maiden Hurdle for Donald McCain as Navajo Pass was in a different league, winning smartly for loyal owner Mr T. G. Leslie. The three-year-old, who was fairly useful on the flat had an ideal profile for converting to hurdles and backed up this promise with a 20-length romp over his two competitors under Brian Hughes.
The John Pickering National Hunt Maiden Hurdle rounded up the afternoon, and saw yet another pillar to post winner in Timeforaspin. After fair form success in bumpers, and on his second hurdles start, he produced an almost faultless round, apart from a mistake at the last to win readily under Aidan Coleman for trainer Olly Murphy.
Commenting on the day, Jeannie Chantler, General Manager stated, “Bangor-on-Dee groundstaff are second to none! The work they put in to make sure we were able to race was amazing – Thank you! The Tarporley War Memorial Hospital as charitable recipients of the Anne Duchess of Westminster’s Charity raised over £60,000.”
The next fixture at Bangor-on-Dee is the Late November Meeting on Saturday 30 November. Ticket prices start from £7 in advance for adult racegoers, with children under the age of 18 and accompanied by a responsible adult admitted free of charge. For more information please visit the website at www.bangorondeeraces.co.uk or call the box office on 01978 780 323.