Historic Chester Stars

Features | 9th May 2023

After the opening Classics of the season, the attention turns to the Derby and Oaks trials this week, kicking off at the historic venue of Chester racecourse.

Midweek History

Historic Chester hosts its hugely-popular Boodles May Festival. The three-day meeting starts on Wednesday when two trials for the Epsom Classics top the card. The Boodles Chester Vase offers the Derby hopefuls a chance to push their credentials when Aidan O’Brien will be looking to add to his record ten victories in the Group 3 contest. He has well-bred Adelaide River declared for the mile-and-a-half race. 

The fillies will line up in the Weatherbys Digital Solutions Cheshire Oaks. Enable won the Listed prize six years ago before going on to Classic glory at Epsom. The Listed Dee Stakes, the meeting’s second Derby trial, is one of the feature races on Thursday’s cards. It shares star billing with the Group 3 tote.co.uk Bet £5 Get £20 Ormonde Stakes, when last year’s winner Hamish could defend his crown. 

The big handicap of the week, the tote Chester Cup, takes place on Friday. The 2m2f contest will be run for the 199th time and is one of the most fiercely contested staying handicaps of the season. The Group 2 IRE-Incentive It Pays To Buy Irish Huxley Stakes will be run on the same day. 

The action will all take place at, officially, the world’s oldest racecourse. It is also one of the most unique. Racing at the venue, on the banks of the River Dee, can be traced back to the early 16th century with evidence it could be as far back as 1512. It is just 1m1f round, so the runners in the prestigious Chester Cup complete two full circuits of Britain’s tightest course.

Trials Time

Friday also sees the start of Ascot’s two-day fixture. The big race of the Royal track’s weekend takes place on Saturday with the £100,000 Victoria Cup. The seven-furlong handicap is always a superb spectacle with runners spread out across Ascot’s straight course. 

There’s also Classic trials at Lingfield on Saturday, as the Surrey track holds its big meeting of the year. The course’s left-handed turning descent into the home straight is not dissimilar to the contours of Epsom. For that reason, many trainers favour the races as they prepare their three-year-olds for the world-famous Classics. The Derby Trial has been won by several subsequent great Classic winners. Slip Anchor, High-Rise and, more recently, Anthony Van Dyck have all used the Lingfield contest as stepping stone to Derby glory. The Oaks Trial, run over the same near mile-and-a-half course as the Derby Trial, offers the same test for fillies heading for Epsom in three weeks’ time.

The National Hunt season might only be a dozen days old but jumps enthusiasts have the competitive Pertemps Network Swinton Hurdle to enjoy at Haydock on Saturday. It helps form one of the few mixed cards of the season with the jumps races dovetailing with the Flat action. It’s all shaping up to be a superb week of racing.

It’s #EveryonesTurf at Plumpton

With over 1400 fixtures this summer there’s racing on for all tastes and that’s why we’re highlighting some fantastic fixtures each week in our #EveryonesTurf series. These will be fixtures that offer a little bit different and have great initiatives on whether an avid fan or new to the sport…

This week we are focussing on the excellent Ladies’ Day at Plumpton Racecourse on Sunday 14th May. Best dressed competitions for gents, ladies and children with some great prizes and loads of entertainment around the site in addition to the superb racing. There’s plenty of great food options as well as the opportunity to bring your own picnic, so bring a blanket and enjoy the action!

If that’s not enough there will be a retired racehorse you can meet and a some live saxophone music after racing to dance the evening away to.

Tickets start at just £15 and kids go free so get yourself along if you are in and around beautiful Sussex this weekend!