A record point to point crowd at Bangor on Dee was treated to some excellent and competitive racing. Clerk of the course Carly Sage and her team had the course in excellent condition and the weather was very mild for the first meeting of the North West season.
There was a good turnout of 67 runners for the seven races which included a riding double for Alex Edwards and a training double for Ed Glassonbury. In the featured Timico Mixed Open race Temple Grandin trained by Philip Rowley was a heavily backed odds-on favourite, but Edwards had to work really hard in the closing stages to fend off the challenge of John Smith Maxwell on Brody Bleu by a neck, with Lorna Brooke on Diamond Dolly a further two lengths back in third.
Edwards completed his double in the 2 ½ mile maiden for 4, 5 and 6 year olds on Following Mama by a comfortable five lengths from Alright Chief but the task was made easier when Trespassers Will ridden by Lilly Pinchin fell at the second last holding every chance. The six year old winner is a half-sister to the Cheltenham Foxhunters runner-up Following Dreams and was acquired at Goffs Ireland for €16,000 as a two year old by owner/trainer Diana Ralph. Her husband Philip was representing her as she had just commenced a skiing holiday.
Ed Glassonbury rode and trained the Beverly Bostock owned Desert Sting in the opening Members race and the combination went steadily clear when Fred Timmis on the favourite Western Promise unseated at the 14th. The horse had a wind operation after a bout of summer hurdling and is expected to progress from here. The second leg of the training double was in the Confined when Harry Myddleton on his first ever ride had an easy win by eight lengths from Moscow Presents on Master Splodge, for his father Guy. Harry is a sixteen year old who rides out at the stable on school holidays and weekends. The horse had previously run really well last month at Sheriff Hutton when third to subsequent winners Grandturgeon and The Highlander.
Another first-time riding winner was 44 year old Builder Stephen Davies who was always prominent on Garde Ville and easily beat Round Robin by 15 lengths in a race full of mishaps. The former hurdler who started at a generous 33/1 is owned and trained by Patricia Rigby at Llangollen and was gifted to her by Lisa Williamson.
The PPORA Club Members race saw another 16 year old Henry Crow ride his second winner on the 14 year old Cottage Oak, leading from the start and winning easily by 12 lengths from Farmer Matt. The win was a welcome consolation for trainer Joe O'Shea who has had the misfortune of his best two horses Lilbitluso and Executive Benefit being on the easy list for the season.
The concluding Restricted saw another close finish with Indigo Island and Upton Venture having a great battle from 3 out with the former prevailing by a neck closely followed by Queen's Law and Escapefromthedark. Philip Thomas rode the winner and immediately announced his retirement from the saddle. The gelding trained by Raymond Owen won his Maiden at Whittington two years ago and the trainer was disappointed that there will not be an opportunity to return to his favourite course in the foreseeable future.