According to official records Chester Racecourse is the oldest course still in use in England. Horse racing on the English/Welsh border dates back all the way to the early 16th century on the banks of the River Dee.
The track, known as the ‘Roodee’ is also very unique in that it’s the country’s smallest flat racecourse of significance at just 1 mile and 1 furlong long (1800m). There is so much history on every bend here: its intimate size means racing enthusiasts can get a fantastic view of the action whether it’s from the Roman walls overlooking the course or the redeveloped County Stand.
The most notable races on the flat racing calendar at Chester are the Chester Cup – a 2 mile 2 furlong handicap race – the Cheshire Oaks – a listed race open to three-year-old fillies and the Chester Vase – a Group 3 flat race for three-year-old colts and geldings.
The key characteristic of Chester Racecourse is arguably its unusually short straight (only 239 yards). Runners and riders are almost on the turn throughout any race at Chester and its tightness, coupled with the brief run-in, mean that only prominent front runners stand a chance of prevailing here.
GeeGeez says: “It is almost impossible to pick a winner at Chester using form from any other racecourse. As it’s such a unique track and a very particular running style is required – along the rail throughout – it’s always best to side with horses that are proven around the Roodee.
“Along with Beverley, Chester is also said to have the most influential draw bias of all the racecourses in the UK. Low stall numbers are certainly best, as runners drawn higher tend to fade quicker with a fast start or get stuck at the back if they’re held up from the outset.”
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