The Sky Sports Racing Winter Meeting welcomed crowds back to Bangor-on-Dee for the first time in 2022 after our first fixture was held behind closed doors.
A crowd of around 1800 people enjoyed a sunny but cold afternoon with 6 thrilling races, featuring the Class 3 The SP or better guaranteed with Tote EBF Mares’ Novices’ Limited Handicap Steeple Chase (EBF Mares’ Chase Series Qualifier). We also had a visit from Racing to school with Year 8 Students from Oaklands School who loved their morning exploring the racecourse.
Race 1 – The John Hewitt Memorial Open Hunters’ Steeple Chase (Class 6, 6+yo)
There was a shock in the opening race of the afternoon as Salvatore got up to beat last year’s Champion Hunter chaser winner Porlock Bay. Porlock Bay was a hot favourite after his victory at last year’s Cheltenham Festival, going off as the 4/9F. As the horses headed to the last fence it was clearly a three-horse race with Salvatore, Porlock Bay and Dieu Vivant all jumping on terms. Salvatore landed in front and held on to win by 2 ¼ lengths.
Race 2 – The Download The At The Races App Handicap Steeple Chase (Class 4, 5+yo)
Race 2 saw the fine form of Venetia Williams and Charlie Deutsch continue as Don Herbager stormed home to a 16 length win. It was a dramatic race with the 7/2 favourite, Behindthelines, falling at the first and hampering Ecossais. The drama continued at the 4th last fence as Byzantium Lad was pulled up, carrying out One Forty Seven in the process. Ecossais and Pennyforapound both pulled up at the next couple of jumps whilst Don Herbager was storming home to a comfortable victory.
Race 3 – The SP or better guaranteed with Tote EBF Mares’ Novices’ Limited Handicap Steeple Chase (Class 3, 5+yo) (EBF Mares’ Chase Series Qualifier)
Our feature race of the afternoon looked to be a tight contest with some exciting mares on display. Fantastic Lady, trained by Nicky Henderson and ridden by Jonjo O’Neill Jr, was sent off as the 7/4F. The 7-year-old mare didn’t let her supporters down as she won impressively by 5½ lengths to Belle De Manech. There was no time for rest for Belle De Manech as she headed to Uttoxeter the following day for Virgin Bet Mares’ Chase where she finished 2nd.
Race 4 – The Off The Fence On YouTube.com/attheraces Handicap Hurdle Race (Class 4, 4+yo)
Our 4th race of the day looked to be an open contest with 11 horses lining up at the 2 mile start. Gamesters Icon flew from off the pace to lead at the last hurdle, holding on to win by ¾ length. It was great to see our local trainer Oliver Greenall back in the winners enclosure after a challenging start to the year.
Race 5 – The Tote never beaten by SP EBF National Hunt Novices Hurdle Race (Class 4, 4-7yo)
Following concerns raised by the riders at the start regarding the low sun obscuring their vision at the first hurdle in the back straight, the Stewards consulted with the Clerk of the Course and ordered that this obstacle should be by-passed for this race. This was no bother for the Donald McCain trained Jungle Jack who made all to win my an impressive 11 lengths. This gelding looks an exciting prospect for the future who remains unbeaten after 4 starts.
Race 6 – The Ultimate Cheltenham Festival Guide On Attheraces.com/cheltenham Novices’ Handicap Hurdle Race (Class 4, 4+yo)
A double for Donald McCain! Our last race of the day went the way of Tim Pat, ridden by Theo Gillard. He ran on gamely to break his maiden, having finished 2nd on his previous two starts at Wetherby and Uttoxeter. Congratulations to all connections.
Our next fixture at Bangor-on-Dee is The Sunday Raceday on Sunday 13th March.
Advanced ticket prices start from just £7. For more information and to purchase tickets online, please visit the fixtures page or call the box office on 01978 780 323.