TONY McCoy regained his lead from Richard Johnston in the jockeys' table for two hours with a 10-length win in the opener at Bangor-on-Dee last Friday.
Tracking the leader, Caroubier, in the early stages of the Dudleston Juvenile Novices' Hurdle Race, McCoy made steady headway to lead four hurdles from home aboard 11-10-on favourite Calamintha - victory was never in doubt.
Connections of dual Cheltenham Gold Cup hero Best Mate were in the winners' enclosure following the running of the Malise Nicolson Novices' Steeplechase. Apart from early faller Supreme Hill, the remaining runners were all in contention throughout the first circuit of the three-mile-and-half-a-furlong trip.
Jockey Jim Culloty had set a sensible pace and his mount, 3-1 shot Rosslea, maintained the lead with only Isard, a faller at the last, and second home Drombeag with chances. Rosslea galloped clear to record an impressive 17-length win.
'He was always going to be a chaser - last season was just for experience and I've always held him in high regard,' said winning trainer Henrietta Knight. 'The SunAlliance Chase at Cheltenham is a possible target, but we'll take it step by step.'
Favourite backers were rewarded with a 100-30 winner in the Ron Harris & Ted Davies Memorial Handicap Hurdle over two miles and one furlong.
Dancing Pearl took up the running from long-time leader Speed Venture on the final bend. Joe Tizzard was sitting motionless aboard Russian Court and the gelding drew clear on the run-in, winning unchallenged by four lengths.
The feature race was the £10,000 Malpas Handicap Steeplechase over an extended three miles. Derrintogher Yank attempted to make all, but was passed before falling at the last. The 7-2 favourite, Coursing Run, partnered by Richard Johnson, benefited from a lead and was clear before jumping the last.
Despite idling in front and a determined late challenge from bottom-weight Jacdor, the favourite prevailed by a neck on the winning line.
Winning trainer Henry Daly said: 'He ran nicely and needs the experience. He'll be aimed at galloping tracks like Haydock in the future, it will make racing easier for him.'
Greenacres Boy set the pace in the Llanarmon Novices' Handicap Steeplechase, but was steadily overhauled by King's Travel around the final bend. Jim McCarthy got a good jump out of 7-2 chance King's Travel and second horse home Vidi Caesar was unable to make any impression on the four-length winner in the closing stages.
Racing came to a close with the running of the Ellesmere 'National Hunt' Novices' Hurdle Race over two miles and one furlong.
Richard Johnston made all the running on Travellers Heir, sent off the 2-1 favourite, to notch up a double and win by nine lengths from Joes Edge.
The win enabled Johnston to regain his lead over McCoy in the jockeys' table.
A crowd of 2,571 jumping fans supported the meeting and reinforced the continuing popularity of the rural course - attendance was up almost 10% on the corresponding meeting last year.