The first meeting of the North West area at Bangor missed most of the bad weather that prevailed over the weekend, although there was a very strong wind which challenged spectators. The second fence which is the last on each circuit was not used, so there was a long run-in on the deepest ground which played into the hands of stayers.
The Mixed Open was a really exciting contest with Matt Barber on War Path leading Rob Jarrett on Verano over the second last where it looked like they had the race between them. The pair came close together on the long run from the last, but Josephine Banks on Horsham Lad had other ideas coming from well behind with a determined late run on the outside to win by a neck from War Path with half a length further back to Verano.
There was a winning double for Rob Jarrett and trainer Sam Allwood on Our Mick in the Confined and Vestige in the 2 ½ mile Maiden, whilst Joan Hitchings owned the last two winners Ice Cool Bennie in the Novice Riders and Blackmill in the Restricted, both trained by Martin Weston.
In the Confined, Our Mick and Cooladerry King contested the lead for most of the final circuit until the former's stamina came into play from the second last and he beat his rival by six lengths with Danners making up good late progress to finish a close three quarters of a length third. Jarrett took up the running in the Maiden from the long-time leader Navaro Star at the second last and Ed Glassonbury on Iffjack looked full of running only to be outstayed by Vestige on the long run-in, going down by a length and a half. The winner is a six year old in his second season and is owned in partnership by Beverley Bostock, Jonty Caulkin and Mike Dunlevy.
The Novice Riders race produced another exciting finish with Mattara ridden by Abbie McCain and Ice Cool Benny the mount of John Smith-Maxwell sharing the lead from before two out, with the latter just prevailing close home by a head. The second leg of the Hitchings/Weston double saw a really exciting five-year-old prospect Blackmill go clear from the last to beat Flan The Man by 20 lengths and enhance the reputation he had made at Chaddesley Corbett when winning his Maiden.
In the opening Members, Ben Furnival sent Tobougg Welcome into a clear lead and he never saw another rival, coming home 20 lengths clear from the never nearer favourite Saphir Des Bois. The winner is trained by Ray Owen for the Tyrnog Racing Partnership, some of whom easily recouped their £500 bargain purchase at Ascot Sales in June 2015 with generous odds of 50/1 in this five-runner field.
The 3-mile Maiden took some getting and only three of the 10 runners finished. Packettotherafters ridden by Jamie Lyttle stayed on best to beat Overplan and Shales Home Mix. The winner who had unseated early on the previous weekend at Thorpe was the first for Stacey Whitehead who has a point to point yard next to Gary Hanmer, and was purchased for Mark Green privately in Ireland last year.