THE rich vein of form of Cheshire-trained National Hunt horses continues unabated.
Two of the 25-1 chances for the Grand National - in truth, a fairly skinny price with more than four months to go to the race - are from the county.
For Forest Gunner, trained by Richard Ford and his wife/training assistant/occasional jockey Carrie near Tarporley, completed a second win over the Grand National fences this year, last weekend.
In fact it was an exhilarating display of superb jumping, as if to say to Ginger McCain's Amberleigh House ten miles down the road: 'OK, anything you can do, so can I.'
Although given a leading quote for the Aintree showpiece in April, the trainer thinks the distance would be too much. A go at the Topham Chase at the same meeting is more likely for the horse that won the Martell Fox Hunters' Chase last April with Carrie in the saddle ten weeks after giving birth and followed up in the Grand Sefton Chase last weekend.
No discredit on Amberleigh House who returned to Aintree for the Becher Chase, and finished fifth to add to one win and two runner-up spots in the race since 2001.
The rain-softened ground was more responsible than carrying top weight. Trainer McCain was understandably delighted, and a bid for a repeat win in the Grand National at the age of 13 is on schedule.
Meanwhile, Saighton handler Lisa Williamson's Colliers Court has chalked up another win over fences - his third in little over a month.
This time it was at Windsor Racecourse, in a jumps meeting transferred from Ascot because of the major redevelopment taking place at The Queen's racecourse.
Following the meeting at Bangor-on-Dee Racecourse on Friday, when the first race is off at 1.10pm, the final fixture of 2004 is on Wednesday, December 15.
A free bus service runs from Wrexham Station to the racecourse 90 minutes before the first race and returns after racing - race-goers with railway tickets have priority.
Admission to the course enclosure is £6, while the paddock enclosure is £13. Accompanied children enter free.
More information is available on website www.BangorOnDeeRaces.co.uk or contact the racecourse on 01978 780323.
The next racing at The Roodee is the May Festival in 2005. Tickets are now on sale.
More information is on the website www.chester-races.co.uk or by calling 01244 304600. General e-mail inquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.