With the 1000 and 2000 Guineas behind us, the big one on the opening day of Chester’s May meeting is the historic Chester Cup. Read on for betting tips, offers, and the best odds surrounding this early season staying handicap.
Run over 2m2f 147 yards of the “Roodee” at Chester races, this Class 2 Heritage handicap first took place way back in 1824 and now offers close to £120,000 in prize money.
Chester Cup Tips and Betting Offers, 3:35 at Chester, 10 May 2019
The Chester Cup is one of the big early handicaps in the flat racing season. Run over a very long trip of 2 miles 2½ furlongs and with 17 runners, this is a hugely challenging race to win which has provided very few winning favourites in recent years. The 2019 renewal looks as competitive as any other so there is ample opportunity for punters to win big again.
Too Much for the Favourite at the Prices
Austrian School has been the ante post favourite for the Chester Cup since his impressive win in the Queen’s Cup Stakes. Mark Johnston’s four-year-old was fully deserving of the win especially as he came so close to landing a big prize for connections last season.
The nature of that win opened up many doors for him of which the Chester Cup is just one. The big concern for connections is that the handicapper gets the better of him just when he has learned how to win.
In that regard, the fact that he has only gone up 3lb for his most recent win is actually a positive but it takes Austrian School over the 9st 2lb mark at which only a little over a third of winners in the last two decades have carried. That makes the general price of 5/1 about the favourite’s chances look a little too short.
Versatile Low Sun a Solid Option
These long distance flat races see will often see a crossover with horses most often seen during the National Hunt season. Not only is that the case with Chester Cup but National Hunt trainers and horses have had some very good success in the race in recent years. That success could well be replicated once again on Friday.
Willie Mullins is one National Hunt trainer who is often seen at the biggest flat racing meetings but his trip to Chester on Friday could be much more than a flying visit. The Mullins team have high hopes about Low Sun’s chances of claiming the Chester Cup.
The six-year-old has competed in both hurdles and flat races during his career and has shown he has the quality to win in both codes at a fairly high level. He hasn’t been seen since winning the Cesarewitch Stakes towards the end of the last flat racing season and the fact that he’s been kept away from the jumps is very interesting.
Low Sun is second top weight but he’s used to carrying much than 9st 6lb from his National Hunt exploits and does look like better value than Austrian School at 8/1 with BetVictor. Though he is the best pick from the top of the betting that’s not where you’re betting should end.
This is a race in which is pays to have a couple of options and the each way chances of Restorer should be respected. Ian Williams’ eight-year-old has winning form at Chester which is important as the tight track is not to every horse’s liking. His owner, Dr Marwan Koukash, also has a very good record in the race so he is exciting on his step up to 2 miles 2½ furlongs at 25/1 with Ladbrokes.
Chester Cup Previous Winners
- 2018 – Magin Circle– jockey Fran Berry, trainer Ian Williams
- 2017 – Montaly – jockey Oisin Murphy, trainer Andrew Balding
- 2016 – No Heretic – jockey Jamie Spencer, trainer Nicky Henderson
- 2015 – Trip To Paris – jockey Graham Lee, trainer Ed Dunlop
- 2014 – Suegioo – jockey Ryan Moore, trainer Marco Botti
- 2013 – Address Unknown – jockey Jamie Spencer, trainer Richard Fahey
- 2012 – Ile De Re – jockey Jim Crowley, trainer Donald McCain
- 2011 – Overturn – jockey Eddie Ahern, trainer Donald McCain
- 2010 – Mamlook – jockey Richard Hughes, trainer David Pipe
- 2009 – Daraahem – jockey Richard Hills, trainer Barry Hills
- 2008 – Bulwark – jockey Jim Crowley, trainer Ian Williams
- 2007 – Greenwich Meantime – jockey Paul Hanagan, trainer Richard Fahey
- 2006 – Admiral – jockey John Egan, trainer Tim Pitt
Chester Cup History
Since its inaugural running nearly 200 years ago, the conditions of this race have actually changed very little. The distance has remained the same to within a few yards, with the one major alteration over this period being that the race is now only open to runners aged four and older, whereas three year olds were previously eligible. Other than that the only significant change has been with regard to the name of the race. Initially run as the Tradesman’s Cup it later became the Tradesman’s Vase, then the Chester Trades Cup before settling on the Chester Cup in 1884. The race is always immensely popular as a betting heat, with the pronounced advantage provided by a low draw a factor which must weigh heavily in the punters’ decision.
Chester is not only one of the oldest racecourses still in use in Britain today, but also one of the most unique in terms of its configuration. Viewed from above the track appears to be almost spherical and only well balanced individuals can hope to succeed. As such it isn’t all that surprising that there have been a number of repeat winners of this contest. The nine dual winners of the race include Rainbow High and Anak Pekan who have both achieved this feat since 1999.
Amongst the list of previous winners’ here the name of the brilliant Sea Pigeon immediately jumps out. Peter Easterby’s gelding was something of a slow learner but certainly flew once he got the hang of the racing game. Not only did he win back to back Chester Cups in 1977-78, he also won the Scottish Champion Hurdle in those years, the Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham in 1980 and 1981 and the Ebor Handicap in 1979. In terms of dual purpose performers he must go down as one of the all-time greats.
Whilst not quite reaching the stellar heights of Sea Pigeon, Overturn was another immensely popular dual purpose winner of this race in 2011. The Donald McCain star also landed the coveted Northumberland Plate on the flat, as well as the Scottish Champion Hurdle and Fighting Fifth Hurdle and finished an honourable second to Rock On Ruby in the 2012 Champion Hurdle.
Four is the magic number for both the leading trainers and jockeys in this contest. Sam Darling and Lester Piggott lead the way amongst the riders with four wins apiece, whilst trainer Barry Hills’ quartet of victories sees him out in front amongst the handlers.
We’ve also got tips and offers for the Chester Vase so check those out too and cash in at Chester!