It was an afternoon of landmark winners and emotional victories at Bangor-on-Dee on Thursday 14th January. The first fixture of 2021 hosted seven races on ground officially described as Heavy.
Man Of The North, jumped the last ears pricked, upsides favourite Miss Amelia before heading clear up the run in to land the opener. On just his second run over fences, the eight-year-old seemed to relish the heavy underfoot conditions to win with what looked like a little in hand, at a massive price of 22/1, under Lee Edwards for Tony Carroll and the Last Day Racing Partnership.
Richard Hobson trained Echo Watt to win the Goldford Stud Handicap Chase, over three miles. Neil The Legend, who beat the eventual winner at Uttoxeter back in December, dictated the pace before Echo Watt under Will Kennedy jumped into the lead when arriving into the back straight for the final time. Turning in, the field were ready to challenge in behind, but the hooded grey was always doing enough and managed to hold them all off, including Talktomenow who stayed on gamely all the way to the line.
Pennyforapound already brought some course form to the table with his second-place finish at Bangor-on-Dee back in November. Sean Bowen set a strong pace on the dual Irish Point to Point winner and was the first of the leading pack to come under pressure. However, the seven-year-old kept finding to run out a five-length victory from Miss Tara Moss, for Wales based trainer Rebecca Curtis.
There was another big price upset in the Iscoyd Handicap Hurdle, when Sartene’s Son skipped clear after winging the last to record a landmark first winner for Malpas trainer Robert Bevis. Despite being headed down the back, Sartene’s Son did not back down, and stuck to the task gamely under Gavin Sheehan who also celebrated a landmark victory, recording his 500th career success. In second was Loch Garman Aris who was appearing for the first time on a racecourse after mammoth 666-day layoff.
The IML Marine Management Handicap Hurdle saw a fruitful return to hurdles for Flight Deck. The lightly raced seven-year-old, who was bred by Noreen McManus, seemed to have found his confidence again after falling on his chasing debut in October. It was a poignant success for connections, as Flight Deck’s win was the first for owner JP McManus since a family tragedy over the Christmas period. Jonjo O’Neill Jnr, who rode the winner for his father, dedicated the victory to the McManus family, who are very much in the thoughts of the racing community at this time.
The Glancing Queen romped to victory in the Yorton Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle for trainer Alan King and owners Dingwall, Farrell, Hornsey and Murray. The mare, who finished third in Grade 1 company on her previous start, travelled like the winner throughout the race and cantered clear, hard held to an 11-length victory under Tom Cannon.
Another smooth victory came in the finale, when All Good Things took the spoils for father and son Matt and Stan Sheppard. The field were racing in fading light and fog, but All Good Things emerged victorious after sitting prominently until hitting the front four from home to finish unchallenged.
The next fixture at Bangor-on-Dee is Friday 12th February. This meeting will be held Behind Closed Doors but will be available to watch live on Sky Sports Racing.