TEMPLE Place, trained by the Aintree Grand National legend Ginger McCain, was the most impressive winner at Bangor-on-Dee last Saturday and underlined the well-being of the yard that has three entries for the 2006 race next week.
Dandygrey Russett set the pace in the Lesley Courtney Memorial Novices' Hurdle Race but was unable to quicken as Stephen Craine brought 8-1 chance Temple Place with his run to lead from the final bend and, despite making a jumping error at the last, the result was never in doubt as the gelding was eased down to score by 13 lengths.
McCain said: 'He was impressive. He was the lead horse for Motivator last year. He's done it well today and he can only get better and goes next to Ain-tree.'
Looking spring-like in the paddock, Mezereon, sent off at 14-1 and ridden by Will Kennedy, made all in the opener to land the Countryside Day Mares' Only Claiming Hurdle Race by three lengths unchallenged from Vocative.
There was a dramatic finish to the Tommy's Darts Beginners' Steeplechase when the long-time leader Henry's Pride was hampered by Monteforte, who was challenging when jumping the last and crumpled on landing. This left Jodie Mogford aboard Fisherman Jack in front and the 15-2 chance galloped to victory by one and a half lengths.
Noisetine set the pace in the www.bangorondeeraces.co.uk Handicap Steeplechase until Ross Comm, the 12-length winner, ridden by Dominic Elsworth loomed alongside the leader three from home and had the pace to pull clear in the final stages. The winner was returned at 4-1.
The feature race of the meeting was the Tommy Shone Handicap Hurdle with £16,000 in added prize money and saw an unchallenged success for 6-1 shot Ile Maurice, who made all the running and defied a late challenge to retain a two-length margin over Cloudy Lane passing the winning post.
Three horses were neck and neck around the final bend in the Tommy's Darts Handicap Steeplechase as 8-1 chance Bel Ombre showed improved form to forge ahead for Owen Nelmes and win by six lengths. The meeting was attended by 4,500 racegoers and closed with a five-length win in the bumper for 7-4 favourite Closed Shop ridden by Tom O'Brien. nGinger McCain enjoyed more success as a large crowd took in seven races at the Cheshire point-to-point last Sunday at Alpraham.
McCain produced The Eens, ridden by Ed Bourne, to win the Subscribers and Farmers Race by 20 lengths.
Will Kinsey of Ashton celebrated a double while riding Castleford to win the Confined Race and Ikemba in the Restricted Race.
Malpas trainer Steve Wynne recorded his fourth victory of the season when The Bare Minimum stormed home by 12 lengths in the Open Maiden Race.
On Sunday, April 2 the Wynnstay point-to-point takes place at Bangor-on-Dee racecourse. The meeting starts at 1.30pm and entry is £20 per car. nSee next week's Chronicle for our special Grand National preview.