Ulster hat-trick on special day
Local trainers bagged a hat trick on the day Downpatrick Racecourse launched its new look.
The public restaurant and bar within the grandstand has been refurbished and is complemented by an expanded jockeys and stewards room and a new race-day office, while the new course website also went live this week.
Omagh trainer Mervyn Torrens struck in the opener when Golden Firth, owned and bred by Robert Donaldson from Fermanagh, prevailed.
Torrens, who won the Ulster National with Hughies Grey two seasons ago, said: "She does prefer going left-handed but the better ground was a help.
"I put the blinkers on at Thurles last time to try and keep her from jumping left and it was a better performance there."
Donaghadee-based trainer Claire Cannon registered her first ever racecourse winner when Deputy Consort was the surprise packet in the handicap chase.
The delighted County Down handler said: "I have four horses in training for the track.
"When I was doing the course to get my (trainers) licence I came across Deputy Consort in a field. I was supposed to be looking at another horse but I liked him."
The winner is owned by Boyce Anderson and Marie Armstrong, wife of Adam of Monty's Pass and Aintree Grand National fame.
Daft Eddy's restaurateur Aaron Stronge, who also combines training and riding a small string at Killinchy, supplied an even bigger shock when General Maccreevy landed the hunter chase.
Stronge, who also owns the winner, elected to put John Barry aboard and General Maccreevy obliged at 25/1.
Stronge said:"I got John up from Cork to ride and the good ground made all the difference to him too. I thought he was massively over-priced and we might look at Aintree for him now."