Chester Cup Betting Tips

Chester Cup Betting Tips

On day three of the Chester May Festival, we reach the feature handicap; the Chester Cup.

This event is truly historic having been on the schedule since 1824. The race is run over a mammoth 2 miles, 2 furlongs around the Roodee’s tight turns with the field this year battling it out for a share of £170,000.

We’ve been on good ground this week with the going stick getting towards readings of 8.0. We also have good temperatures meaning we should be on quick enough ground, faster in fact than many of the good stayers will be used to.

As for those tight bends, the draw is always a major topic of conversation in this race. You must be drawn low, so they say, but what do the stats tell us?

Only 5 of the last 10 winners came from single-figure draws. Of the 40 horses placed during that time, 16 came from stalls 10 and above.

There is some basis therefore for wanting a lower draw, but the last four winners have jumped from gates 16, 10, 10 and 14.

We’re giving no special consideration to those drawn low, only the usual factoring and always allied with the likely pace each runner will show. With all of that in mind these are the six we like best against the field: 

Main Contenders

Aztec Empire 

Trading at single figures in the betting, trained by Andrew Balding and ridden by Oisin Murphy is Aztec Empire. An interesting runner, he has form with two others in this race from last summer which we will go into in more detail.

From stall four and with a little pace, he should get into a good racing position early on.

Forza Orta 

Kevin Ryan’s Forza Orta won the race at York last year which could hold the key to this event.

He’s had a prep run for this and should be right at his best, with the only question being whether his best is good enough from his current handicap mark or whether he’ll need to improve again. He’s well drawn under Rowan Scott and should be thereabouts.

Grand Providence 

An early favourite for this race, Grand Providence is another on the list for Andrew Balding and this is the horse that won the Cesarewitch Trial last autumn at Newmarket.

She will surely improve, we have little doubt about that, but Chester is very different from HQ and things will be tougher here.

Solent Getaway 

The last of the three from our focus race at York, Solent Getaway is trained by Hugo Palmer who knows exactly what it takes to get the job done around the Roodee.

He was improving nicely in staying races last year, but has been way below par so far this season on synthetic surfaces. He could in fact have been classically laid out, he has the pace to get away from stall 5 and he could be hard to catch.


Ian Williams and Jim Crowley team up with this horse, a seven-year-old drawn in 11 who won at Newcastle on New Years’ Day.

He may be hard to win with now, owing only to his age versus his handicap mark, but he makes the list.


Another for Hugo Palmer and drawn 1 as well, Zoffee will definitely be popular in the betting.

In fact, we don’t reckon he’s as well drawn for his racing style as Solent Getaway but Harry Davies is a good man to have up top.


On our ratings, the top three were the horses who all clashed in an extended two-mile heritage handicap at York last August.

Forza Orta beat Aztec Empire narrowly that day with Solent Getaway back in third. The trio were drawn 4, 6 and 1. Forza Orta and Aztec Empire got a good lead into the race, while Solent Getaway attempted to make all and was caught late, something they’d have found harder to do on a turning track like this.

At the weights, Solent Getaway was the best of the bunch that day. He was around 7lbs better that Forza Orta, was beaten two lengths and is now 6lbs better off with that horse.

Aztec Empire was favourite at York, was around 3lbs worse than Solent Getaway which could be overturned on this track, though at four he could also improve past Solent.

Aztec Empire was two lengths ahead of SOLENT GETAWAY that day getting 5lbs. They are now rated the same and, in these conditions, it’s local man Hugo Palmer and the very capable Saffie Osborne’s runner who could come out on top.

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