RAIN-softened ground was the order of the day at Bangor-on-Dee last Saturday, writes Beverley Dee.

This suited the 9-4 shot Gentian, ridden by Stephen Craine, in the Home Sale Network Juvenile Novices' Hurdle, who was always prominent and went on four flights from home.

Craine kept the filly up to her work to score by two lengths. Winning trainer Donald McCain said: 'She's a nice filly. We thought she'd improve and she stays. She's still a bit green and improved with the better ground.'

In the Genesis Wealth Management Novices' Handicap Hurdle, Alexander Exchange was travelling well in the closing stages before diving to the left and unseating his rider. This left Rabbit in front but she was unable to hold the 20-1 outsider Troodos Jet who came with a smooth run for jockey Keith Mercer. The partnership jumped the last flight in front and opened up a margin of three lengths on the line.

Mr Fluffy, ridden by Tom Messenger and sent off at 6-1, led the field into the straight in the Maple Leaf Financial Services Group Handicap and defied a late challenge from Celtic Boy to record a one-length victory.

Winning trainer Tony Carroll said: 'It was a good performance, obviously he went through the ground and we're enjoying the day before making more plans.'

Dictating the pace, Crow Wood looked the winner of the betterbetcorbett Dee Hurdle. Timmy Murphy kept to the inside rail and made steady headway aboard 7-1 chance Estate to lead on the flat and steal the race by one and a half lengths.

Odds of 8-1 was the starting price of the 25-length winner Uncle Max in the racinguk.tv Handicap Steeplechase.

Kind Sir was the long time leader before Tom Scudamore sent his mount on four fences out and he quickly opened up an unassailable lead to win easing down.

Despite the damp conditions that depleted the fields, 5,125 stalwarts enjoyed the afternoon's racing that concluded with the Wrexham Maiden Hurdle and a four-length victory for Captain Jack, ridden by Graham Lee and sent off at 8-1.