Tag Archive for: Bangor

Newcastle and Newbury set to beat the weather

Saturday’s high-profile fixtures at Newbury and Newcastle are set to go ahead despite the damage caused across Britain by Storm Arwen on Friday night.

It is the biggest day of the National Hunt season at Newcastle, with the Betfair Fighting Fifth Hurdle the main attraction.

Clerk of the course James Armstrong arrived at Gosforth Park on Saturday morning following what he described as a “horrendous” night, but is optimistic the meeting will go ahead in its entirety.

“It’s been a long week,” Armstrong told Sky Sports Racing just after 10am.

“We watered earlier in the week to keep it safe and we’ve had 35 millimetres of rain in the last 24 hours, but it’s genuinely not much worse than good to soft.

“You couldn’t have raced this morning as we had four or five furlongs of running rail down in the back straight and a few hoardings have blown around and smashed through some permanent running rail.

“We’ve had to make quite a lot of repairs and our ground staff have had to clear driveways of broken trees last night.

“It was pretty horrendous last night – I’ve not seen weather like that in this country before.

“But the winds have abated hugely and the forecast is for it to drop away, so things are looking very favourable at the moment.”

Newbury, which stages the Ladbrokes Trophy, posted on Twitter on Saturday morning: “There is no scheduled inspection ahead of today’s racing, but we will be monitoring wind speeds closely.”

It was not good news everywhere, however, with clerk of the course Andrew Morris having no option but to call off proceedings at Bangor before daybreak.

He said: “We’ve had no power since around 2am and the latest update is we won’t get power back to the site until around 4pm, so that is obviously one factor.

“The second factor is there’s been damage to some of the public areas and they’re deemed to be unsafe.

“It’s not long-term damage, it’s just with the timescale we had this morning and the wind being as strong as it was, it was an easy decision on safety grounds.”

Wolverhampton’s Saturday evening card must pass a third check at 2pm if it is to go ahead due to snow.

Sunday’s meetings at Carlisle and Leicester are both subject to precautionary inspections at 8am due to the threat of frost.

Snow Leopardess in line for Becher Chase after Bangor success

There was a popular winner of the Weatherbys nhstallions.co.uk Handicap Chase at Bangor, as Charlie Longsdon’s Snow Leopardess jumped for fun en route to victory.

A quality field was assembled for the three-mile affair, with Canelo, who beat Snow Leopardess in the Rowland Meyrick last season, and Grand National sixth Blaklion both running.

But the grey – who is already a mother, having had a foal to Sir Percy while she recuperated from a leg injury – never looked like being caught and galloped on relentlessly for Aidan Coleman to win by two and three-quarter lengths from Windsor Avenue, as the 5-1 joint-favourite.

Paddy Power cut the nine-year-old to 14-1 from 20s for the Becher Chase over the National fences at Aintree next month.

Snow Leopardess in full flight
Snow Leopardess in full flight (David Davies/PA)

“A lot of people know her history now and she’s been a great mare for us. She did that really well today,” said Longsdon.

“She’s always jumped really well, she loves it and I couldn’t have been more impressed today.

“All ground seems to come alike to her. I probably wouldn’t run on anything quicker than it was today. I worried it wouldn’t be a stiff enough test today, but it was.

“She’s got an entry in the Becher and that is probably what we’ll look at. We’ll take her for a school over the fences at Lambourn.”

The Glancing Queen in winning action under Tom Cannon
The Glancing Queen in winning action under Tom Cannon (David Davies/PA)

The Glancing Queen made a faultless chasing debut for Alan King and Tom Cannon.

King took the unusual step of giving the seven-year-old her first taste of fences in Listed company in the Yorton Stallions Mares’ Novices’ Chase – and was rewarded as The Glancing Queen jumped like an old hand throughout.

Cannon had her nice and settled behind the leading group, with the much more experienced Vienna Court forcing a stiff pace throughout but persistently jumping out to her right, which harmed her chances.

Running down to the last only Maskada was a threat to The Glancing Queen, but Cannon always looked to have her measure and the 5-4 favourite came away to win by a length and three-quarters.

Saint Segal made a winning debut
Saint Segal made a winning debut (David Davies/PA)

Saint Segal (3-1) was a very impressive winner of the Ten To Follow @tote.co.uk Juvenile Maiden Hurdle on his racecourse bow for Jane and Chester Williams, while the Olly Murphy-owned Hunters Call (15-2) once again showed he would have been a very good horse had he been able to avoid injury when an easy winner of the Greenhous DAF Handicap Hurdle.

Donald McCain and Brian Hughes enjoyed their customary winners through Richmond Lake (100-30) in the Paul Ferguson’s Jumpers To Follow ‘National Hunt’ Auction Maiden Hurdle, and Barrichello (13-8) in the Racing Welfare Supporting Racing’s Workforce Novices’ Hurdle, the latter showing the benefit of a wind operation after finishing second on his previous five outings.

Harry Skelton extends title lead with Bangor double

Harry Skelton stretched his jump jockeys’ championship lead to six ahead of Brian Hughes thanks to a double on his brother Dan’s horses at Bangor.

Dan Gun and Dog Of War struck for the Skeltons – while Hughes suffered several near misses as his title rival took his winning tally to 145.

Skelton and Hughes are set to continue trading blows throughout the last week of the season – but with just seven days to go before the finale at Sandown, it is the former who has the clear upper hand, and has shortened to 1-20 favourite with the bookmakers.

Brother Dan has nonetheless warned the title is not a done deal yet, and he is expecting more twists and turns still to come in the battle royal at Ayr, Perth, Sandown and elsewhere over the coming days.

The Warwickshire trainer told Sky Sports Racing: “The worst hope is false hope – you can’t think that it’s over, because it certainly isn’t.

“Brian Hughes is definitely going to have more than five winners between now and the end of the season.

“So it’s going to be hard. There’s no time to take your foot off the gas, no time to dwell and reflect – you’ve got to keep going forward.”

He is, however, very proud of what his brother has achieved so far.

“It’s a great position for Harry to be in,” he added.

“Every jockey walks into the weighing room for the very first time and hopes one day they can be in a position to challenge for champion jockey – and he is in that position.

“It’s been an amazing rollercoaster, and I’ve always thought the final week will have a big say in it – and I think Perth (Wednesday to Friday) is going to have a massive, massive say.

“There’s no time to take in what’s going on. It’s all been flat out, but I hope we can look back on it all when we get to the end, and reflect positively.

“I’m proud of Harry. I drive the car a little bit – Tom Messenger does most of that – and I declare the horses.

“When it comes to being champion jockey, it’s a one-man thing. So he’s got to be proud of himself, and we’re all very proud of him.”

Skelton stretched his title advantage in the opening race, the first division of the Potter Group Handicap Hurdle.

Dan Gun provided him with his 144th winner before noon, on a card which got under way at 11.25 so it could be completed before the funeral of the Duke of Edinburgh.

The 13-8 favourite was delivered from off the pace and was clear at the last, beating Hughes and Rubytwo into second by six and a half lengths.

Both jockeys were unplaced in division two, and then Hughes had to settle for second again in the Maelor Handicap Chase – leading at the last on Discko Des Plages only to be run out of it by Aidan Coleman on another of the 3-1 co-favourites, Casa Tall.

Hughes’ run of near misses continued in a groundhog scenario in the Darlands Novices’ Handicap Chase, with the extra aggravation for him this time of finishing second to Skelton again.

The championship leader arrived with a telling challenge at the last once more as Dog Of War defied a minor market drift to 3-1 to beat Hughes on 2-1 favourite Armattiekan by a length and a half.

The winning jockey said: “He did it really well, and travelled well.

“Since he only ran the other day, we hadn’t done a lot with him – maybe we should have done a bit more, because he was quite fresh.

“I’ll keep rolling, keep going.”

The Skeltons were, however, then out of luck with their last runner of the day – Interconnected in the Horseradish Maiden Hurdle.

In the absence of Hughes, the long odds-on favourite appeared to have a golden opportunity to break his duck but instead fell at the last when upsides the 28-1 winner Aviewtosea.

Both horse and jockey were unscathed.

Flooded Bangor abandoned

Officials at Bangor have been forced to abandon the meeting scheduled for Sunday because of flooding.

Having lost its sole fixture last month after flood damage, with fences ruined and debris strewn across the track, Bangor’s hopes were high that this weekend’s card would be able to go ahead.

However, further heavy rain on Wednesday meant the worst hit areas of the course were once again waterlogged – and there was no option but to make an early call.

The racecourse sits next to the River Dee.

A tweet from Bangor’s Twitter account read: “Unfortunately we experienced significant flood damage to the track and fences during January, these areas are now waterlogged following further rain today. Therefore, our meeting this Sunday 14 March has been abandoned.”

There is also a doubt over Carlisle’s meeting on Thursday, with a late precautionary inspection called for 7am.

By 5.30pm on Wednesday 12 millimetres of rain had fallen, with the possibility of another eight to come.

The going is heavy on the chase course and soft on the hurdle course.

Hurdle races abandoned at Sandown on Saturday

Sandown will stage an all-chase card on Saturday after the four scheduled hurdle races were abandoned following an inspection of the course on Wednesday afternoon.

Clerk of the course Andrew Cooper warned at the start of the week that races over the smaller obstacles were under threat due to the recent heavy rainfall.

And while the hurdle track did survive a first inspection on Tuesday, a further check was initially called for Thursday before being brought forward following rain on Wednesday morning.

Ultimately, officials had no option but to call off the four races, including the Contenders Hurdle, which is a recognised trial for the Champion Hurdle at next month’s Cheltenham Festival.

A post on Sandown’s Twitter feed read: “Following this afternoon’s inspection, the Hurdles course is not raceable due to waterlogging and false ground. All hurdles races will be abandoned and @VirginBet Day this Saturday will be an all-chase card beginning at 1.15pm.

“No further inspection is planned at this stage.”

The British Horseracing Authority had already made contingency plans to add two further chases to make a six-race card.

The meeting features the Grade One Virgin Bet Scilly Isles Novices’ Chase, as well as the Grade Two Cotswold Chase, which was saved from last Saturday’s abandoned meeting at Cheltenham.

Conversely, Wetherby’s fixture could be confined to hurdle contests with the chase track due to be inspected at 8am on Friday.

There three races planned over fences, including the Grade Two Towton Novices’ Chase, but the BHA has programmed a provisional all-hurdle card in case the course is not fit for action.

The track is already staging the rescheduled Grade Two Cleeve Hurdle, so two additional hurdle races would be added to create a seven-race card culminating with the scheduled bumper.

Declarations for the existing card will be taken at the usual 48-hour stage on Thursday, with entries for the two additional races closing at noon and declaring at the 24-hour stage on Friday.

Thursday’s meeting at Down Royal is subject to a precautionary inspection at 7.30am, while officials at Chepstow have called an inspection for 4pm on Thursday ahead of Friday’s fixture.

The meeting at Bangor on Friday week has already been abandoned due to damage caused by Storm Christoph.

The storm, which hit last week, brought an immense amount of water into the area and the course sits next to the River Dee.

As the river burst its banks, the infrastructure around the course suffered severe damage, so much so that the meeting next week will come too soon while the repairs are being carried out.

A tweet from the course read: “Due to significant damage from flooding caused by Storm Christoph, we have unfortunately had to abandon our fixture at Bangor-on-Dee next Friday 12th February.”

Bangor beaten by the weather

Sunday’s National Hunt meeting at Bangor has been abandoned due to a waterlogged track.

The going was already heavy at the Welsh venue following substantial rain throughout the week.

Further rain overnight caused the nearby river Dee to burst its banks, flooding the track and leaving course officials with no option but to call the meeting off.

A statement on www.bangorondeeraces.co.uk read: “Unfortunately due to recent rainfall and rising river levels resulting in waterlogging of the track, racing has been abandoned.”

The next meeting is scheduled for January 14.