'WE didn't know what to expect, but it's fantastic - Bangor at it's best,' said general manager Jeannie Chantler during the new fixture at the racecourse on Tuesday evening.
A crowd of 4,148 enjoyed the seven-race card and the summer conditions provided fast ground enabling the 10-year course record over two-and-a-half miles to be broken by 0.7 seconds in the second race.
There was an exciting finish to the Neville Williams Memorial Mares' Only Novices' Hurdle with three horses closely bunched approaching the final flight.
Blackcomb Mountain had been the early leader and fought back going into the straight with Langdon Lane looking the danger. Richard Johnson galvanised the 2-5 favourite Giovanna to make rapid headway in the closing stages and snatched victory by a head on the line.
The Arkle Properties Novices' Steeplechase culminated in another tight finish involving three horses. Arm And A Leg had set the pace before Midnight Gold, sent off the 7-4 favourite, led from four out with Kivotos making up some ground.
The photo finish confirmed that Robert Thornton had a short head advantage aboard Midnight Gold at the post.
Jockey Leighton Aspell brought 9-2 shot Gaelic Roulette with a well-timed run to jump the last flight in front and go on to win the Subscribe To Racing UK On 08700 506957 Handicap Hurdle by three lengths from Better Moment. Winning trainer Jonathan Jay, who is based at Newmarket, said: 'The team has worked hard with her. She has won on bottomless ground at Market Rasen and this is my first winner at Bangor.'
The feature race on the card was the £10,500 Carlsberg UK Handicap Steeplechase run over two-and-a-half miles and resulted in a five-length success for Dominic Elsworth aboard Jodante, a 9-2 chance.
Wayne Hutchinson, riding the 15-8 favourite Waterspray, was the 11-length winner of the bangorondeeraces.co.uk Steeplechase.
Always up with the pace matching strides with Carina Bay, the winner was challenged by Buttress in the home straight who crumpled on landing at the last and College City came home in second place.
Fourteen lengths was the winning distance recorded by the 4-11 favourite, La Dolfina, in the Jewson Novices' Hurdle Race (Series Qualifier). American Duke had set a brisk pace before coming back to his field and Whistle Blowing went on. Tom O'Brien, aboard the winner, made headway and quickly opened up an unassailable lead.
Another favourite obliged in the concluding race, the Westlife and Van Morrison At Chester Intermediate Open National Hunt Flat Race. Pinch Me Silver headed the field before Tom Doyle unleashed Little Lu in the home straight to score by two lengths.