IT'S that time of year when National Hunt and Flat racing share top billing.
Saturday sees the first major race of the Flat season on the turf, The Lincoln, and that means we are just a few weeks away from the Chester May Festival.
But the jump racing horses are not out of the spotlight yet, and Bangor-on-Dee stages its annual Countryside Day on Saturday.
The two feature races have attracted interest from the trainers of some useful horses. Cloudy Lane, from Ginger Mc-Cain's yard at Cholmondeley, is un-beaten in 2006, and is a possible for the £15,000 Tommy Shone Handicap Hurdle. In the bangorondeeraces.co.uk Handicap Chase, the Grand National entrant Ross Comm would be in with a chance if he returns to his best form.
As well as the racing at Bangor, there will be many countryside attractions.
There are just over two weeks to go before the Grand National. The 2004 Aintree hero - the Cheshire-trained Amberleigh House - had his final outing before this year's big event earlier this week and finished last but his stamina was beginning to tell towards the end of a race that was too short for the 14-year-old. nSaturday's first race at Bangor is at 2.05pm. Admission to the Course En-closure is £7 (£6 in advance), while the Paddock Enclosure is £15 (£14 in advance with a £1 racecard voucher). Accompanied U16s are free. nNantwich horse Iris's Gift jumped well but fizzled out a long way from home during the Gold Cup race at Cheltenham on Friday.