FANS of both Flat and National Hunt racing have good reasons to be pleased with the 26 fixtures that will be staged at Chester and Bangor-on-Dee Race-courses next year.

After changes at the Roodee in recent years - including a three-day August Festival and the move of the traditional May Festival to between Wednesday and Friday - Chester's fixtures are a mirror image of those during 2004.

Bangor-on-Dee has been boosted with an additional Saturday meeting in April, which replaces a midweek fixture in May.

Consistency of fixtures is welcome and important. Those at Bangor-on-Dee and Chester this Friday and Sunday respectively, for example, will be held on the equivalent days next year, too.

The annual Family Funday on The Roodee has become a real 'fixture' in the British racing calendar, and its success and popularity are helped by it being on the same Sunday every year.

Bangor-on-Dee's first Ladies' Day for many years has brought a focus on one lady who gained fame when riding in the Grand National in the 1980s.

For it's not often that a horse dictates the honeymoon plans of newly-weds, but that could be the case on Friday.

Jockey Mark Bradburne, who married former Aintree rider Gee Armytage last weekend, is due to be on board the exciting novice chaser First Ballot in the Everyone's A Winner At Bangor Races Novices' Chase.

Dubbed horse racing's 'wedding of the year' - and arranged on a day when there was no National Hunt racing - the honeymoon has been arranged around First Ballot's racing plans.

The horse, which this time last year was running in top-class company at Glorious Goodwood, won his first race over fences at Bangor-on-Dee's last meeting in May. Since then he's won twice more, all of them with Mark Bradburne in the saddle. Both he and Gee are keen that he keeps the ride.

The annual Family Funday at Chester Racecourse takes place on Sunday with the first race due off at 2.20pm. Badges are priced at: County Stand £25-35; Tattersalls & Paddock £15; Dee Stands £7; Open Course £6. Car parking is £5 on the day. They are available from the racecourse website or by calling 01244 304610.