Over 2,000 racegoers passed through the gates for the first meeting of 2020 at Bangor-on-Dee, the Tote’s Back Heritage Day on Friday 7 February.
The day marked the beginning of a four-year partnership between the Tote and Chester Race Company, which sees the Tote become the exclusive on-course betting partner at Bangor-on-Dee, replacing Bangor Bet. Dani Johnson, UK Tote Group Partnerships Director, said “Friday 7th February is a significant day for the new Tote. Following the announcement of the partnership with Chester Race Company we are excited to see the Tote returning to Bangor-on-Dee Racecourse. We look forward to working with the teams at Chester and Bangor-on-Dee to develop the pool betting offer and ensure customers can enjoy a great experience when betting with the Tote in a racecourse environment.”
A group of pupils from Oakland’s School were in attendance with the charity, Racing to School who provided them with a range of outdoor learning activities at the racecourse throughout the day.
The exciting Annie Mc brought up a hattrick of wins over the bigger obstacles when winning the Tote Placepot First Bet of The Day EBF Mares' Novices' Chase to kick off the afternoon’s proceedings. If You Say Run sat quietly behind the eventual winner for most of the contest and came with a challenge turning for home, but failed to make any impression on the clearly impressive Annie Mc, who settled into a lovely rhythm under Jonjo O’Neill Jnr. The 6-year-old may now take her chance at the Cheltenham Festival for trainer Jonjo O’Neill.
Sheneededtherun took the Proactive Personnel Handicap Chase over the marathon trip of 3-miles 5-furlongs. Locally trained in Whitchurch by Sam Allwood, the mare sat cosily in midfield throughout the contest before staking her claim against the leader Clondaw Bob three from home. Despite jockey Charlie Todd dropping his stick between he final two fences, Sheneededtherun was tough and game and eventually pulled clear of the field to win by 19 lengths for the Sam Allwood Racing Club, who were absolutely delighted with their mares fourth success in as many starts.
Up next was the Tote - Back with Better Value Guaranteed Open Hunters' Chase where a small but quality field headed to post, including the once high-profile chaser Ballynagour. However, it was Bob And Co, under his owner-rider David Maxwell, who cruised to victory after being left clear at the eighth fence. The red and brown silks are now extremely common on UK racecourses, and could feature in the Foxhunter at Cheltenham or Aintree aboard the quirky, but clearly talented nine-year-old, Bob And Co.
Drama followed in the Tote's Back Novices' Hurdle as Minella Trump edged out the rallying odds on favourite The Cashel Man in an eventful finish. A two-horse race from the off, despite there being three runners, Jeremiah McGrath bounced out on the experienced eight-year-old, with Brian Hughes in close pursuit on the gelding, 2 years his junior. Headed before two out, The Cashel Man was short of room before the last and after being switched to the outside, rallied gamely all the way to the line. A steward’s enquiry duly followed, where after deliberation, the results were revised, awarding The Cashel Man the race.
Oscars Leader never saw a rival under Sean Quinlan in the tote.co.uk Handicap Hurdle. The addition of a first-time visor could have contributed to the improvement of the Jennie Candlish trained runner, who even when pressed in the home straight, found extra to win by one and a half lengths from Little Stevie.
Redemption came for Donald McCain as Gaelik Coast, held on to win the New Tote British Stallion Studs EBF "National Hunt" Novices' Hurdle for owner Mr T G Leslie. An Irish Point to Point winner, and a winner on his previous start over hurdles, Gaelik Coast proved the strongest in a line-up with some promising sorts, including French hurdles winner and £260,000 purchase Stratagem. Second place was filled by Stimulating Song who stayed on up the run-in but was always held.
The finale was won takingly by Faivoir in the colours of Mrs Suzanne Lawrence. The Dan Skelton trained gelding pulled hard in the early stages of the race, and despite the holding ground, drew clear to win by a cosy three and a quarter-lengths under Bridget Andrews, from the Irish raider and 6/4 favourite Getabay.
To view the full fixture list at Bangor-on-Dee in 2020 and to buy tickets please visit the website at www.bangorondeeraces.co.uk or for more information call the box office on 01978 780 323.