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Chester Cup: Date, runners, history and more

The Chester Cup, a handicap race that is open to horses aged four years or older, is one of the highlights of the Flat season.

The Chester Cup has been part of the racing calendar since the 1800s and has a prize fund of £150,000.

The race annually takes place as part of the Boodles May Festival, which is a three-day event and the biggest meeting held at Chester.

Horse Racing

Chester Cup date

The Chester Cup is traditionally held in mid-May as part of the Boodles May Festival. The meeting is held over three days between Wednesday and Friday, with the Chester Cup taking place on the final day.

The 2024 Chester Cup will take place on Friday 10th May.

Chester Cup venue

The Chester Cup takes place at Chester Racecourse, which is also known as the Roodee and is a left-handed track. 

The venue is officially recognised by Guinness World Records as the "oldest racecourse still in operation", with 1539 cited as the year racing first started at the site.

At only one mile and one furlong long, Chester Racecourse is also thought to be the smallest racecourse of significance within England.

Chester Cup how to watch

Every race from the meeting can be viewed via the bet365 live sports streaming service.

All three days will also be shown live on Sky Sports Racing.

Chester Cup details

The Chester Cup is a handicap Flat race which is open to horses four years or older. The runners compete over a distance of two miles, two furlongs and 147 yards.

The distance and rules of the race have been altered at different times in its history, but it has been held in its current format since 1994.

Chester Cup history

The first Chester Cup took place in 1824. In those days, the event was called the Tradesmen's Cup and horses competed with a minimum of 8st 2lbs. Horses of three years or older were able to compete and win the trophy.

The race was renamed the Chester Cup in 1884 and no horse has ever won it three times. Nine horses have a brace of victories to their name, the most recent being Anak Pekan, who claimed back-to-back wins in 2004 and 2005.

Chester Cup most successful trainer

Lambourn trainer Barry Hills is the most successful trainer in Chester Cup history, with four wins to his name.

Hills, who retired in 2011, first won the Chester Cup in 1980 with Arapahos before waiting 19 years for his next success.

Rainbow High won the race for him in 1999 before landing the spoils again in 2001. His last success came with Daraahem in 2009.

Some of the world's leading trainers, including Aidan O'Brien, Harry Fry, Dermot Weld and Mark Johnston have won the race in recent years, but none of them have multiple wins on their CV.

Only two trainers have won the race twice since 2000, with Michael Jarvis winning the contest twice thanks to Anak Pekan, while Donald McCain Jr landed the spoils in 2011 and 2012, with Overturn and Ile de Re, respectively.

Chester Cup most successful jockey

Two jockeys share the most wins in the Chester Cup, with Sam Darling winning four times between 1831 and 1839, while the legendary Lester Piggott also landed a quartet of wins.

Piggott, who won over 4,400 races as a jockey, took this prize aboard Sandiacre (1958), Aegean Blue (1966), Major Rose (1968) and John Cherry (1976).

Chester Cup famous winners

Sea Pigeon, who was an American-bred, British-trained horse won the race twice in 1977 and 1978.

The gelding was a star in both National Hunt and Flat racing, and he also won the Ebor Handicap, Champion Hurdle, Scottish Champion Hurdle, Fighting Fifth Hurdle and Welsh Champion Hurdle before.

Upon his retirement, he was referred to as Great Britain's "best-known horse after Arkle and Red Rum" by the Glasgow Herald.

Overturn, who was trained by Donald McCain Jr, won the Chester Cup in 2011, and he too landed some big races over fences, winning the Scottish Champion Hurdle, Ascot Hurdle and Fighting Fifth Hurdle.

Ed Dunlop's Trip To Paris won both the Chester Cup and Ascot Gold Cup in 2015 as part of a sublime campaign. He was retired in 2017, having won over £800,000 in prize money.

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