The flat season has officially started and there are now exactly four weeks until racing returns to Chester and the start of the 2019 season begins with the inaugural three-day meeting; the Boodles May Festival.
2018 saw a change to the running order of the three days, with the opening day; City Day, serving as ‘trials day’ for both the Investec Derby and Investec Oaks. This new formula proved popular with racegoers and anticipation to witness another star of the flat season emerge at Chester is already building. Attentions will soon turn to declarations and early front runners, with odds on who will be crowned champion of the Roodee turf on day one.
Ladies Day offers up style both on and off the track with the Homeserve Dee Stakes and Boodles Diamond Ormonde Stakes, serving as a qualifying WH Stayer’ Million race, taking centre stage. Between races, racegoers will be invited to take part in the Official Style Partner Best Dressed competition, in association with McArthur Glen Cheshire Oaks.
A new partner joins Chester Racecourse in 2019 as sponsor of both the prestigious Chester Cup and Chester Plate; SportPesa begin a new venture into horseracing by affiliating with the most valuable race in Chester’s season. The Group 2 Homeserve Huxley Stakes will complete an enthralling card of seven on the final emphatic day of the three-day extravaganza.
Bringing Chester racedays to the masses in 2019 and beyond, a new partnership with Sky Sports Racing will see live racing action broadcast into the homes of Sky subscribers for the first time, whilst ITV return to cover the three days event with vigour for a third year.
Innovative Chester have been working hard throughout the close season to bring a new and improved offering to the raceday experience, with a new hospitality facility; Parade with Aiden Byrne, launching one day one of the season. A new viewing platform will provide owners and trainers visiting Chester with an improved vantage point from which to watch their runners and ‘The Lawn’ will offer anyone accessing the Paddock side of the course with a new area from which to enjoy the Chester experience.
Not to be forgotten, jockeys will be welcomed by a new weighing room and changing room facilities mirroring Premier League standards, where plush surroundings and personalised pods from which to prepare for a race await.
Chief Executive Officer of Chester Race Company, Richard Thomas, said:
“In a year in which we celebrate 480 years of racing at Chester, we are recognising both the rich heritage of our story, whilst continuing to push the boundaries of what we deliver for all who visit and watch us. We want to lead the field when it comes to atmosphere, customer experience and facilities and our infrastructure developments and new broadcast partnership this year will ensure horsemen, racegoers and viewers alike will continue to experience the best of what a raceday at Chester can offer.
“Once again we are well supported by our partners, many of whom return for another year and with only four weeks to go, there is a tingling anticipation on course for another fantastic three-day festival to open the season.”