Chester May Festival Results & Racing Highlights

Fans returned to the much-loved Boodles May Festival at Chester Racecourse to enjoy three thrilling days of flat racing action.

According to the Guinness World Records, Chester Racecourse is the oldest racecourse still in operation, dating back to 1539. While Chester hosts 15 meetings annually, there’s no denying that the Boodles May Festival is the most popular event in the racing calendar.

And after the British Horse Racing Authority suspended racing in 2020 due to the pandemic, full capacity crowds graced the hallowed Chester turf for the first time in three years between May 4th and May 6th.

While the weather may not have been perfect, the action on track didn’t disappoint. Here are the highlights from the three-day Festival:

Chester Vase Result

Aidan O’Brien won the Chester Vase for the 10th time after Changingoftheguard (10/3) beat New London on the May Festival opening day.

O’Brien has saddled a record nine winners in the Group Three race, which serves as a key trial for the Epsom Derby. While clear favourite, Luxembourg, was rumoured to take the race by storm, Changingofthegueard had other ideas.

The 100/30 shot was sent straight upfront and built up a healthy lead over Charlie Appleby’s unbeaten colt New London, denting his Derby hopes.

It was an impressive performance at the Boodles May Festival and an emphatic win for Ryan Moore, who sealed a day one treble. Changingoftheguard has gone as low as 8/1 for the Epsom Derby in June.

Reflecting on Changingoftheguard’s win, trainer Aidan O’Brien said: “We were delighted with the run, and I think off the back of that, you’d have to say he’d go to Epsom now.”

Ormonde Stakes Result

On Thursday, W J Haggas-trained Hamish romped to glory in the Group Three Ormonde Stakes at Chester May Festival.

The six-year-old horse has only had two runs on turf in the last two seasons due to plenty of off-course issues, but he defied all odds in the feature race on day two of Boodles May Festival.

Hamish delivered an impressive performance on the Roodee, outrunning Franny Norton’s Thunderous by three-quarters of a length in the Group 3 feature. Meanwhile, favourite Albaflora could only manage a fifth-place position, behind Alonak and John Leeper.

Jockey Tom Marquand said: “Hamish did well to win because I had to give a cheap length away turning in to go in rather than out, and it can be pretty tough.

“To win after a lay-off is a great effort by everyone around him. He’s a character and tests everyone around him. Thankfully, everything has been rewarded.”

Chester Cup Result

Ryan Moore won his 8th race of the three-day Festival on Cleveland, trained by Aidan O’Brien.

It was Cleveland’s first trip over 10 furlongs, and while Moore piloted the four-year-old colt along a brave route, sticking to the inside rail on the notoriously tight track, his game plan paid off.

The 80/1 shot Torcello made an early charge under Franny Norton but was denied by 9/2 favourite Coltrane. Rob Hornby and Coltrane set sail for home, but Cleveland kicked it up a gear up the final straight, angling out at the top to shade it by a neck at the winning line.

Henry Palmer-trained Rajinsky finished third. Franny Norton and Torcello finished sixth behind Falcon Eight and Arcadian Sunrise.

It was another ultra-confident ride for Moore, who had been red-hot all week, winning 8 of his 11 outings at Chester. After landing consecutive trebles on the Festival’s first two days, he landed a double on the final day following an earlier win in the Huxley Stakes on Solid Stone.

After the race, winning jockey Ryan Moore said:

“He made a nice enough comeback over 10 furlongs, but the quicker ground today would have helped him.

“I found the gaps and the space, and maybe it wasn’t a strong Chester Cup, but you’d have to be delighted he’s done that on his fifth start.”

Bookmakers were impressed, with Betfair slashing Cleveland’s odds to 10-1 from 66-1 for the Royal Ascot Gold Cup.

The action on track wasn’t the only impressive aspect of the Chester May Festival, as the racecourse had undergone significant improvement in preparation for the return of fans.

Chester Racecourse Welcomes Return of Crowds

Chester Racecourse received a major facelift ahead of the new campaign, including:

  • New carpeting in the County Stand
  • New toilets in the County Long Room
  • Improvements to the entrance and underground walkway between Tattersalls and County Enclosures

Chester Races have revealed plans for a new city centre car park as part of its £100 million overhauls. These plans also include a new grandstand and landscaping features around the site boundary.

Given that Chester has been voted “the most Instagrammable” horse racing venue in the UK and Ireland, it comes as no surprise that officials want to maintain its revered reputation.

If you missed out on the May Festival and want to visit one of Britain’s top racecourses, here’s everything you need to know about next year’s meeting to help you prepare:

When is the Chester May Festival in 2023?

In 2023, the three-day Boodles May Festival will take place from Wednesday, May 3rd to Friday, May 5th.

The first day of the meeting is commonly referred to as City Day. Day two is known as Ladies’ Day, and the final day of the meeting is Chester Cup Day.

Will There be Road Closures in Place?

Yes, you will find road closures on New Crane Street, Watergate Street and Nuns Road between 9AM and 9PM on race day, so please give yourself plenty of time to travel to Chester Racecourse.

What Time do Entry Gates Open at Chester?

Typically, gates open two hours before racing, usually 11:30AM for daytime meetings and 4PM for evening races.

Is There Accommodation Near Chester Racecourse?

The nearest hotel to Chester Racecourse is Holiday Inn Express Chester – Racecourse, an IHG Hotel and ABode Chester.

There’s also plenty to do in Chester where dining, nightlife and shopping are concerned. Cultural highlights are also within walking distance from the city centre, making it a lovely trip for visitors.

Alternatively, you could stay in one of Chester’s neighbouring cities, Liverpool and Manchester, home to exciting activities, entertainment, cultural hotspots, and attractions.

chester racecourse

Have an enquiry about Chester hospitality?

Chester May Festival

Our Chester Hospitality Team are ready to help you plan your day at the Chester May Festival - Complete this contact form and one of our horseracing specialists will be in contact shortly.

  • If you are enquiring on behalf of a company confirm the full company name
  • If you are enquiring on behalf of a company please confirm your title / position with the company
  • Let us know your exact requirements for Chester May Festival 2024
  • Please note that any bookings placed with Eventmasters Limited are subject to our Terms & Conditions

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.