The famously fashionable Chester Racecourse kick starts its racing season on the 7th May with its nationally treasured three day May festival. A blend of glitz, glamour and race day excitement, the festival launces with the renowned Stan James Cup Day.
The Stan James Cup Day plays host to one of the most notable races of the season, the Chester Cup. First ran in 1824 under the banner of the Tradesman’s Cup, the race adopted the title of the Chester Cup in 1893, by which time it was firmly established as the feature race of the May meeting. The longest race of the festival at 2 miles, 2 furlongs and 147 yards, it is infamously unpredictable, with a history of outsiders topping the bill. The Chester Cup is one of seven races to be held on the Stan James Cup Day, the action starting at 13:45 with the Manor House Lily Agnes Stakes.
Thursday 8th May is all about the style, with the festivals Ladies Day combining the fashions with the furlongs. The main event of day two’s seven races is the Chester Vase, the 1 mile, 4 furlong race scheduled for 14:45. The Vase was most memorably won back in 1981 by the world famous Shergar with an outstanding 12 length victory. The Irish bay colt rose to fame shortly thereafter with a 10 length victory of the Epsom Derby. Of course, today the story of Shergar is best known for the mystery of his kidnap in 1983. Today The Vase, restricted to 3 year old entrants only, is a start of season test for many that will go on to perform in the Derby and the St. Leger, as well as being the highlight of Ladies Day.
May 9th, the 3rd and final day of the festival, is City Day, a celebration of the glorious city of Chester and its people. Top of today’s fixtures is the Dee Stakes which, much like the Vase, provides an excellent trial race for the Derby. Whichever day you choose to attend, the May festival provides an electric start to a glamorous season at the country’s oldest racecourse.
The Boodles May Festival at Chester runs from Wednesday 7th to Friday 9th, with ticket prices varying according to classification and trackside location. Following on from the festival, a further 12 meetings are scheduled at the course over the season. This includes the Roman Day meet on Saturday 31st May, a celebration of the great Roman heritage of the beautiful city of Chester. The day includes an on duty Roman Legion, the Devil’s Horsemen Stunt Team, chariot races and stunt riding displays. The season culminates on Saturday 27th September with the Chester Finale, one final chance to appreciate one of the worlds finest racecourses in all its glamorous glory.