ALTHOUGH it's the middle of summer, the jumpers will be back at Bangor-on-Dee Races before the end of the month.
It will be a big weekend for racing in Cheshire and North Wales with the National Hunt meeting on Friday, July 30 followed by the annual family fun day two days later at Chester Races.
He's a more familiar face at Bangor-on-Dee than on The Roodee, but it was good to see Cholmondeley's Grand National-winning trainer Ginger McCain having his first runners on the Flat for well over 18 months at Chester last weekend.
Neither Reem Two nor Swallow Falls were placed. However, for a jump racing man, McCain probably has a soft spot for Chester, for it is the only racecourse on which he's had a winner on the Flat in recent years!
Well done, too, to Saighton trainer Lisa Williamson who sent out her opening winner of the 2004-5 National Hunt season at Uttoxeter last week. Ten-year-old River Mere turned over an odds-on favourite to win a novices handicap chase at 20-1.
She doesn't send too many horses to Bangor-on-Dee Races but expect to see the top jockeys and trainers there at the end of the month.
And what a fascinating 2004-5 National Hunt season is already developing, especially in the light of champion jockey Tony McCoy moving from Martin Pipe's yard to his rival Jonjo O'Neill.
McCoy is already way ahead of his weighing room colleagues in numbers of winners. In fact, he's already reached half a century and is 30 clear of his rivals - and those winners include four at Bangor-on-Dee's first three meetings of the jumps season.
The next fixture at Chester Racecourse is the annual Family Fun Day on Sunday, August 1. Badges: County Stand £25-35; Tattersalls & Paddock £15; Dee Stands £7; Open Course £6. Car parking is £5 on the day.
As well as via the website (www.chester-races.co.uk), badges can be bought on the course's credit card hotline on 01244 304610, which is open between 9am and 4.45pm, Mondays to Fridays. General e-mail inquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org
The first race at Bangor-on-Dee Racecourse on Friday, July 30 is 2.15pm. Admission to the Course Enclosure is £6 while the Paddock Enclosure is £13. Accompanied children enter free.
More information is available on www.BangorOnDeeRaces.co.uk or by contacting 01978 780323.