About 1200 racegoers enjoyed the sunshine at Cessnock’s Jungle Juice Cup on Friday.
It was the first time the time-honoured race had been held in October, having been run on a Tuesday in July since its inception in 1981.
Newcastle Jockey Club chief executive Matt Benson the move to spring time was a success.
“It has been a great day, we’ve had great weather – it’s ticked all of the boxes,” he said.
“We would be wanting to get the crowd up by a couple of thousand in the next couple of years.”
The Jungle Juice Cup had drawn crowds of more than 5000 at its peak, but numbers had dropped off in the last decade or so.
Mr Benson said moving the cup to October was part of the club’s commitment to building the event for the future.
“The Tuesday in July was traditional but it was becoming an increasingly hard day to get support,” he said.
Mr Benson said the Friday afternoon offered the opportunity for people to make a long weekend out of the event.
The Cessnock Cup has also been moved to a Friday, to be run on November 24.
Chris O’Brien steered eight-year-old gelding Hammoon Boy to victory in Friday’s main race, the Cessnock Leagues Club Jungle Juice Cup.
Hammoon Boy is trained at Tamworth by Sue Grills. Epic Dan finished second in the main race and Court Victory was third.
VIDEO: Check out the action from the Jungle Juice Cup feature race in the video below.