The oldest known area for horse racing in the UK, Chester is a very famous venue with a tight course conducive only to flat racing.
While other meetings take place, Chester’s main event is the midweek May Festival during which their biggest handicap takes place, the Chester Cup.
As well as some cracking competitive handicaps, the meeting is also famed for various classic trials such as the Dee Stakes, the Chester Vase and the Cheshire Oaks.
Chester Track Details
Chester is rather like an American track at least in the sense that, even if you stand up on Nuns Road at the City Walls, you can see the whole track and all the action.
The track is left-handed, tight and sharp at just one-mile round. Horses are on the turn almost the entire time which is unique also meaning there are generally a couple of well-known biases here, namely the draw and a horse’s running style.
The draw is obvious, i.e. having a low draw on the inside means that significant ground is saved versus those on the outer.
Horses ridden on the front end also tend to do very well on this tight and flat track. Not only do they not tire as much, but naturally the traffic caused in behind can often mean a late-finishing type doesn’t get out of trouble in time to make a challenge after the final turn up the very short run-in.
A mixture of stamina and speed therefore should be looked for ideally. In the Chester Cup for example, a horse drawn not too high who can therefore get into position and get up close to the pace will be in the perfect position when push comes to shove.
The tactical pace needed to get there and stay there is important, while having the stamina to stay there round the bend with a couple of furlongs to go is an obvious advantage.
Top Trainers and Jockeys on the Roodee
As well as the effect of the draw at this notoriously tight track, it’s important to know who rides it and trains for it best of all. The best handlers with good strike-rates here are:
- Richard Hannon
- William Haggas
- Ralph Beckett
- David Evans
- Andrew Balding
And, the better-performing jockeys at the track are:
- Harry Bentley
- Silvestre De Sousa
- Liam Jones
- Kevin Stott
- Richard Kingscote
- Ben Curtis
Chester’s Biggest Handicaps
Although several of Chester’s yearly handicap races are worth £20,000+ to the winner, the standouts are undoubtedly top staying races the Chester Cup and its consolation event, the Chester Plate.
|Boodles Diamond Handicap||May Festival||Class 2||5 furlongs|
|Deepbridge Capital Handicap||May Festival||Class 2||7½ furlongs|
|Earl Grosvenor Handicap||May Festival||Class 2||7½ furlongs|
|Chester Cup||May Festival||Class 2||2 miles, 2½ furlongs|
|Chester Plate||May Festival||Class 2||2 miles, 2½ furlongs|
|Sportpesa Handicap||Ladies Day, August||Class 2||7½ furlongs|