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Reputed to be the oldest racecourse still in use in England the Roodee, owned by the Chester Race Company, is also the smallest with a circumference of under 1m1f. Needless to say, on such a sharp track in which runners are continually on the turn, the draw has a major impact even in races of more than 1m4f when large fields are involved. In sprints, a fast start is absolutely essential as it is a very difficult to win finishing from off the pace. A low number is generally a big advantage in races up to 7f, though course executives have tried to make it a more level playing field in recent seasons by dolling off the top of the home straight and opening up an opportunity to overtake in the final furlong.
Left-handed, Chester’s setting backing on to the city’s ancient city walls and adjacent to the River Dee is one of the most picturesque in the country and the racing, staged between April and September, is never less than competitive. Meetings are always well attended. The track is on the A548 Queensferry Road, accessible from the M56. Car parking on the course is limited, however. Chester General Station is approximately a mile from the track.
The May Festival is Chester’s main meeting and can be traced back to 1766. The Cheshire Oaks, Dee Stakes, Chester Vase and Ormonde Stakes have pattern race status but the Chester Cup is the race that everyone looks forward and National Hunt trainers have taken a real liking to the 2m2f handicap in recent years with some smart hurdlers coming out on top against their Flat counterparts. Donald McCain does particularly well while the dominant age group is five to seven-year-olds and, despite the distance, a single-figure draw is a plus. Owner Marwan Koukash likes nothing better than a winner on the Roodee and Sir Mark Prescott’s runners, Mark Johnston three-year-olds and Hughie Morrison’s older horses also have a good record, as do those of Andrew Balding.
Saturday 24th September Results
Saturday 10th September Results
Friday 9th September Results
Saturday 20th August Results