After a break of around four weeks, racing returned to Bangor-on-Dee in glorious sunshine for the Timeform October meeting. The fixture was part of a trial by the Racecourse Association of lunchtime racing, with the first of six races starting at just 12.15pm. The initiative is being supported but the Horseracing Betting Levy Board to assess the impact on turnover of widening the window of time in which racing is available to betting customers; potentially providing additional income to the industry.
The day also saw the eagerly anticipated unveiling of the newly extended Owners and Trainers facility. After being awarded Small Racecourse of the Year by the ROA for the last two years, we pride ourselves in the Owners’ experience. The new area sees a designated seating area overlooking the Paddock Enclosure with a bar, betting location and tea and coffee making station, whilst the extended restaurant now has capacity for around 250 to be seated for lunch. Hopefully our investment in the new facility will further enhance the Owners’ experience and be welcomed by our visitors.
A taking performance in the SportPesa Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle saw Legends Gold skip merrily clear under Aiden Coleman. Her first run off a break saw the former point to point winner stamp her authority, maintaining a great strike rate this season at Bangor-on-Dee for her trainer Rebecca Curtis.
An equally impressive performance came in the SportPesa Novices’ handicap chase as Twotwothree drew clear on the run in for local trainer Oliver Greenall. The favourite Benni Light took up the running with five to jump, but could only plug on in vain as Twotwothree was squeezed into an easy lead by jockey Henry Brooke under 11 stone 11.
A hotly contested Order New Horses To Follow @timeform.com Handicap Hurdle went the way of Prince Khurram. After a mistake at the last at which the first three jumped in unison, the Donald McCain trained nine-year-old battled on gamely to clinch victory by half a length. G’day Aussie was second, with the other McCain runner, Cousin Oscar filling third.
The longest contest of the day was the Follow Timeform's 50 For The Jumps Handicap Chase over three miles. On his first run since March, Onurbike revelled in the soft underfoot conditions, overcoming an awkward mistake at the last to deny the rallying Itsamanslife. The rightfully delighted owner, breeder and trainer, John O’Neill was there to welcome in his winner who has had a resurgence after the addition of cheek pieces in his 11th year.
The keen going Jembug Drummer found significant improvement to win the Sir Charles Lowther Memorial Maiden Hurdle for Tim Vaughan. The five-year-old travelled strongly throughout the race and pulled clear to win unchallenged under Alan Johns. His opponents finished in extremely wide margins with over 150 lengths covering first to last.
Grand Coureur flew home to break his maiden and land the SportPesa Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Chase under Ross Turner. Long-time leader Sidsteel was four lengths clear turning in, but weakened close home in time for the Oliver Greenall trained runner to swoop past; bringing up a brilliant double for the yard on the afternoon.
The next meeting at Bangor-on-Dee is Countryside Day on Tuesday 29 October. This is a great opportunity to plan a day out with the family during the school holidays. There will be plenty of supplementary free activities for youngsters to get involved with and enjoy throughout the afternoon, including a Birds of Prey display, Ferret Racing and face painting. 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. A Punters Package is also available for this fixture – jump to it, this value-for-money combo is only available in advance. Take advantage of a combined discount on Paddock access, a racecard, portion of fish and chips and a Bangor Bet betting voucher. For more information please visit the website at www.bangorondeeraces.co.uk or call the box office on 01978 780 323.