The first two-day meeting since 1978 at Bangor-on-Dee kicked off on Tuesday 29th September with a quality seven race card.
Action got underway in the Read Ben Curtis' Blog Weekly At Betsafe Intermediate Hurdle with just the two runners heading to post. Thegallantway and Paddy Brennan made the running with The Wolf stalking the Fergal O’Brien trained runner stride for stride. After a couple of jumping errors when starting to come under a bit of pressure, it looked as if Thegallantway had handed the advantage to The Wolf who looked to be travelling the better of the two under Adrian Heskin. The Olly Murphy combination loomed up on the outside of the long time leader turning for home, but Thegallantway lived up to his name and stayed on resolutely to win by three quarters of a length to overturn the odds on favourite.
Olly Murphy and Adrian Heskin got their own back in the next as the Butcher Said took the Betsafe Racing From Over 40 Countries Novices' Chase. Dropped out by Heskin, the seven-year-old travelled strongly behind the field before making eye catching progress heading out on the final circuit. Long-time leader Cool Destination put up a strong performance under Paddy Brennan who ran on gamely after being headed, whilst Snow Leopardess also ran creditably. The Butcher Said is shaping into a promising chaser after showing some fine form over hurdles and has now won two of his three chasing starts for the Olly Murphy yard.
It didn’t take long for Paddy Brennan to ride a double, as Teqany landed the Betsafe Leading Over The Last Free Bet Handicap Hurdle. The field were lead along at a strong pace by Kajaki and dual Bangor-on-Dee winner Beach Break, who remained in front before being headed off by the eventual winner and Midnights Gift two out. The lighter of the grey’s quickly asserted his dominance and pulled away from the Alan King trained runner to make it two on the day for Brennan and O’Brien.
Lock’s Corner made in four on the bounce as he won the Top Price All Runners At Betsafe Handicap Chase. The six-year-old carried the familiar gold and green hooped jacket of JP McManus to an easy victory under Richie McClernon. The gelding was always travelling comfortably and after being shaken up, quickly went clear approaching the last fence. A wind operation last year has seemed to work its magic, as the son of Gold Well is unbeaten since, with his last two victories having a combined winning margin of over 16 lengths.
A thrilling finish in the Betsafe Best Odds Guaranteed Novices' Hurdle saw Fugitives Drift deny the long-time leader Finisk River in the final strides. Brian Hughes jumped off in a familiar position at the front of affairs and looked to have pulled off a pillar to post victory before a shuddering error at the final flight. The Nicky Henderson trained runner had tracked the leader throughout but was struggling to get on terms until taking full advantage of the error of his competitor to stay on well to the line.
A dominant display saw Manofthemountain claim victory in the Read Donald Mccain's Blog At Betsafe Handicap Chase. The Emma Lavelle trained seven-year-old travelled strongly for the duration of the three-mile contest and was travelling best of the bunch before taking the lead three from home. Kept up to his work by jockey Ben Jones, he was always doing enough and holds a near perfect record since joining Emma Lavelle.
It was a double on the day for Olly Murphy as he trained Del Duque to success in the Follow @Betsaferacing On Twitter Handicap Hurdle to round up the day’s action. Dropped out in the early stages and travelling smoothly, Del Duque had a wall of horses in front of his turning in and had to track six horse wide around the home bend. The five-year-old was game up the straight to nudge out Bangor-on-Dee regular Wazowski in the shadows of the post to record back to back wins.