The second fixture at Bangor-on-Dee Behind Closed Doors, took place on Wednesday 29th July. A jam packed 9 race card and over 80 runners and riders took to the track for some national hunt racing action.
Donald McCain hit the ground running as his team took both divisions of the Tote Placepot – Your First Bet Novices’ Hurdle. Division one saw Away At Dawn post an impressive pillar to post victory under champion jockey Brian Hughes. The five-year-old travelled exuberantly in front and cleared away from his rivals in taking fashion on the home bend. Del Duque could be one to note as he stayed on from way back to claim second, albeit seven lengths behind the winner.
The second division saw an almost copy book ride from Hughes as Blakeney Pont virtually made all to record his first victory over hurdles on his second attempt. The seven-year-old was an eight-time winner on the flat for Roger Charlton and after this dominant display, looks a smart prospect for the inform McCain stable.
Global Tour kept the ball rolling for Fergal O’Brien, who has now trained 10 winners since the resumption of racing, as he landed the Tote.co.uk Free Streaming Every UK Race Novices' Handicap Chase. Dropped right out by Max Kendrick, the five-time winner over hurdles made steady progress throughout. He was not the most fluent at some of his obstacles but rallied well to lead approaching the last and go on to win on his chasing debut.
The long trip from Dumfries was worthwhile for Iain Jardine as he trained the winner of The Tote Quadpot Mares' Handicap Hurdle. The hooded Animore took a keen hold early but took a lead from Floral Bouquet. The pair under Conor O’Farrell and Page Fuller respectfully locked horns in a great battle up the home straight. A slight error at the last by the Jamie Snowden trained runner handed Animore the advantage she needed, and she took the contest by a length.
It was three on the day for Donald McCain as the local handler trained Bannixtown Glory to glory in the tote.co.uk Now Never Beaten by SP Handicap Hurdle. Another perfectly judged front running ride from Hughes fended off the others, with only Black Buble staying on the pose any sort of challenge to the winner.
Hughes quickly added to his tally for the day, and is now on 11 wins for the campaign, as Imada quickened away from the field in style to win the feature Handicap Chase by 15 lengths. With almost four horses upsides two out, it looked like it was going to be a thrilling finish, but once shaken up by Hughes, Imada flew clear for trainer Nicky Richards.
There is not a yard in better from than that of Alex Hales, who’s odds on favourite For Pleasure took the Join tote.co.uk For The tote Guarantee Handicap Hurdle. A winner just eight days previously, the chestnut gelding was able to back up that performance without trouble under jockey Harry Bannister.
Previous Bangor-on-Dee scorer Damut I’m Out took the spoils in Tote Supporting Racing Since 1928 Handicap Chase. After being placed on his seasonal debut at the course on the 12th July, the veteran travelled keenly in the hands of Alex Edwards, but kept on well to win comfortably for trainer Alistair Ralph.
The lucky last went the way of Emmarelli, after getting the better of long-time leader Misstree Song for Dr Richard Newland and Gavin Sheehan. Understandably a little green on her racecourse debut, the four-year-old made nice progress throughout and kept on well inside the final furlong to win by three lengths.
The next racing behind closed doors fixture at Bangor-on-Dee is on Tuesday 25th August. All the action will be covered live on Sky Sports Racing.