The first meeting of the North West season took place at Bangor where the highlights were a riding treble for Alex Edwards and a treble for horses trained at Stockton Hall; a brace for Ed Glassonbury and a debut winner for Dan Astbury. The good crowd was treated to some very competitive racing with a few close finishes.
The enthusiastic Astbury was delighted to train his first winner Late Romantic for a syndicate from the Spital Vaults pub in Chester and a big party was scheduled there for the evening after a huge gamble from 12/1 down to 5/2 succeeded. In the race itself, Ed Glassonbury took off in a comfortable lead on Late Romantic and although the odds-on favourite Lilbitluso was upsides at the third last the winner stayed on strongly to win by 12 lengths in the fastest time of the day. The gelding had looked useful a couple of seasons ago when winning a Maiden and having had a couple of unlucky mishaps when falling or unseating in commanding positions. He subsequently was placed second in a novice hurdle but after he had a leg injury, he was acquired by the trainer for the syndicate, who should have plenty of fun with him based on this run.
The first part of the Glassonbury double came in the older horse Maiden with Spoilt Sam ridden by Jack Andrews outstaying the only other finisher Alright Chief by ten lengths. The winning seven-year old in his third season was bred by Jane Smith and she owns it jointly with her friend Carol Brown.
Glassonbury's double came in the Confined where Open Hearted ridden by 17 year old Harry Myddleton for his father Guy got the better of another 17 year old Henry Crow and Irish Anthem at the last going away to win by six lengths. The 11 year-old winner previously trained by Dan Skelton had won eight races in his career and was bought for £11,000 at the Goff's May sales.
Alex Edwards consolidated his position at the top of the Jockeys title but he had to work harder than long odds-on favourite backers would have liked to get up close home on Barel of Laughs to beat the ex-hurdling winner The Caller by half a length. The winner trained by Phil Rowley was not suited by the soft surface and he now heads to the Cheltenham Foxhunters where he was runner-up last season.
Edwards second winner came aboard the previously unraced 4 year-old filly Control Me who ran on strongly from the second last to win by a couple of lengths from Jimmi Chew. This was a second winner on the day for trainer Francesca Nimmo who had previously saddled Summer Sounds to win the Restricted at Charing. She was represented here by her partner and joint owner Charlie Poste who had bought the filly privately in County Wexford having been advised to look at her by his ex-weighing room colleague Paul Moloney.
The third leg of the Edwards treble was another hard-fought affair with Following Mama only getting the better of Guy Disney on Dan's Wee Man in the closing stages winning by half a length. The winner had previously won a Maiden at this track for owner and trainer Diana Ralph.
In the PPORA Club Members for Veterans and Novice Riders there was an excellent tussle over the last mile with Theo Gillard on the Sian McCain trained Oscatara closely followed by Leanne Painter on Global Power, with the latter staying on to win close home by half a length. This was sweet compensation for the combination who had previously won a good Ladies at Sheriff Hutton before parting company at the last with a commanding lead in a similar event at Thorpe. The winning trainer Heidi Brookshaw has her horses in strong form with Shotavodka having been just touched off in a hot Haydock Hunter Chase the previous day.