Chester - At The Races

Trendspotting

    We've analysed all the data from past Boodles May Festivals to reveal the facts no punter should bet without knowing. Covers every aspect including trainers, jockeys, the draw, betting and breeding.

With three days of pulsating action to come for punters at the Boodles May Festival, live on Sky Sports Racing, help is at hand courtesy of our stat-packed Trendspotting Guide.

The Guide is armed with a host of winner-finding angles, from the all-important draw, to how Chester favourites performed.

But, we start with one of the most popular methods involving trainers and jockeys, concentrating in particular on those who struck most in recent years.

TRAINERS – THE BIG FIVE

Aidan O’Brien (2009-2018)

Boodles May Festival winners: 23-58 (+£34)

The leading trainer at this festival during the last 10 years courtesy of 23 winners, with all bar one in a Group 3/Listed event. It hasn’t proven easy for punters to profit via O’Brien’s runners at Chester, though, with and increased number of runners during the last three years producing a tally of 8-25 (-£5), compared to 15-33 (+£39) from 2009-2015.

Top races (since 1999): Chester Vase (8 wins); Dee Stakes (7 wins); Cheshire Oaks (6 wins); Ormonde Stakes (4 wins)
Positives: 3yos (18-45 +£36); Group 3/Listed (22-51 +£37); won last time out (10-20 +£27); 181 days off or longer (10-25 +£25)
Negatives: won twice or more in career (3-15 -£4).

Richard Fahey (2009-2018)

Boodles May Festival winners: 18-144 (-£32)

Richard Fahey left this meeting with at least a treble in four of the last eight years, while enjoying some big-race wins for Owner Dr Marwan Koukash (5-72 -£27). However, his followers need to stick with certain guidelines if looking to profit. The main one surrounds the odds, as Fahey’s fancied runners at 12-1 or shorter delivered, including Forest Ranger (6-1), The Feathered Nest (11-2) and Gabrial The Saint (13-2) 12 months ago.

Top races (since 1999): 7.5f handicap (2 wins)
Positives: 12-1 or shorter (18-102 +£10); won during their last three runs (10-59 +£8); Newcastle last time out (4-5 +£19)
Negatives: 14-1 or bigger (0-42 -£42)

Tom Dascombe (2009-2018)

Boodles May Festival winners: 16-145 (-£44)

When it comes to sprints at Chester, then Tom Dascombe is a man to follow courtesy of nine winners since 2009 (9-59 -£0). Not that following Dascombe blind in sprints proved profitable, although his runners over all distances did take advantage of being drawn well in stalls 2-4 at 10-36 (+£29).

Top races (since 1999): 5f maiden (3 wins); 5f 3yo handicap (2 wins); 5f conditions stakes (2 wins); Lily Agnes Stakes (2 wins)
Positives: Non-handicaps (11-65 +£6); stalls 2-4 (10-36 +29); 12-1 or shorter (16-79 +£22); upped one grade in class (8-41 +£19)
Negatives: 14-1 or bigger (0-66 -£66)

John Gosden (2009-2018)

Boodles May Festival winners: 11-46 (+£4)

It’s been a case of quality than quality with John Gosden at Chester, sending an average of around 4-5 runners per Boodles May Festival. One race to have proven very kind was the 1m2.5f maiden staged on day one. Elsewhere, more value was found backing Gosden’s non-favourites than favourites, while the majority of the yard’s runners were partnered by William Buick or Frankie Dettori, who both showed a profit.

Top races (since 1999): 1m2.5f maiden (7 wins); 1m4.5f handicap (3 wins)
Positives: Non-favourites (7-31 +£8) Newbury/Newmarket last time out (6-13 +£8); William Buick/Frankie Dettori (10-23 +£12)
Negatives: Handicaps (0-12 -£12)

Sir Michael Stoute (2009-2018)

Boodles May Festival winners: 10-44 (-£19)

While no longer in his heyday of sending out doubles and trebles at this meeting, Sir Michael Stoute still had four winners during the last three years. In fact, three of Stoute’s last four winners at this meeting were favourites (8-17 -£1), and there in lies the problem regarding profit via his runners, with each of his 10 winners since 2009 returning at 10-3 or shorter for a tiny 53p level stakes profit.

Top races (since 1999): Huxley Stakes (6 wins); Ormonde Stakes (4 wins); 1m2.5f maiden (4 wins)
Positives: None
Negatives: Females (1-9 -£7); 3yo’s (3-24 -£19); 7-2 or bigger (0-20 -£20)

Others To Note...

Like Sir Michael Stoute, Andrew Balding also sent out 10 winners at this fixture during the last 10 years, though he did show a profit for his followers (10-63 +£6), despite nine losers here 12 months ago. Prior to that, Balding had eight winners from 2014-2017, so it could pay to ignore last year’s blip. A closer look also shows that Balding shone in handicaps at 8-30 (+£30).

Mark Johnston is also worth looking out for when having a runner across the three days (9-88 +£10), with profits extended in non-handicaps (4-19 +£44), though may be avoid those moving up in trip by 2.5f or more from last time (0-22 -£22).

Be Wary Of…

David O’Meara: 0-15
Roger Varian: 1-20
Brian Ellison: 1-21
David Simcock: 1-25

JOCKEYS – THE BIG FIVE

Ryan Moore (2009-2018)

Boodles May Festival winners: 32-112 (-£10)

Ryan Moore stands head and shoulders above any other jockey at this meeting, leaving with at least a treble in seven of the last 10 years. His relationship with Aidan O’Brien is one to keep tabs on, while Moore’s overall record in non-handicaps (25-58 +£9) reads better than in the more competitive handicaps (7-54 -£19).

Top races (since 1997): Chester Vase (7 wins); Huxley Stakes (5 wins); Ormonde Stakes (4 wins); Cheshire Oaks (4 wins)
Positives: Group 3 (16-27 +£19); Favourites (24-42 +£16); Aidan O’Brien (17-29 (+£15)
Negatives: 11 runners or more (3-34 -£19); 7-1 or bigger (1-28 -£17)

Richard Kingscote

Boodles May Festival winners: 15-91 (-£5)

Richard Kingscote has been the beneficiary in saddling the majority of Tom Dascombe’s runners at Chester, with 14 of the jockey’s 15 winners at this meeting coming via that yard. The Kingscote/Dascombe also proved very profitable with runners that arrived bang in-form having made the top four last time (10-42 +£20).

Top races (since 1997): 5f conditions stakes (2 wins); 5f maiden (2 wins); Lily Agnes Stakes (2 wins)
Positives: Non-handicap (10-42 +£16); stalls 2-5 (11-36 +£34)
Negatives: 9-1 or bigger (1-44 -£31)

Paul Hanagan

Boodles May Festival winners: 15-87 (+£8)

With at least one winner at this meeting during the last eight years, Paul Hanagan can be relied upon to visit the winner’s enclosure at some point, possibly when riding for Richard Fahey. The duo struck 10 times since 2009 (10-55 -£1), including a double last year (13-2 & 7-1), while Hanagan’s versatility saw him win round here regardless of trip, number of runners and draw – he won from wide stalls in 10, 11 & 12.

Top races (since 1997): 5f maiden (2 wins); 1m4.5f handicap (2 wins); Lily Agnes Stakes (2 wins)
Positives: Not beaten more than 3l last time (11-40 +£35); Wednesday, day one (8-33 +£26)
Negatives: Hanagan rode last time out (2-25 -£13)

Jamie Spencer

Boodles May Festival winners: 12-93 (-£3)

The hurly-burly of handicaps is where Jamie Spencer likes to rumble, including two victories in the Chester Cup since 2013. Spencer has bundles of experience going round the Roodee, and knows how to make the most of a good low draw on the inside.

Top races (since 1997): Chester Cup (2 wins); 5f 3yo handicap (2 wins); 6f handicap (2 wins)
Positives: Handicaps (9-54 +£22); Stalls 1-4 (8-38 +£30)
Negatives: 14-1 or bigger (0-24 -£24)

William Buick

Boodles May Festival winners: 10-54 (-£1)

Following a four-timer here in 2010, William Buick hasn’t been prolific in his assault on the winner’s enclosure since, partnering just five winners (5-45 -£26). His partnership with John Gosden has proven profitable, however, while non-handicaps remain a strong area.

Top races (since 1997): 1m2.5f maiden (3 wins); Huxley Stakes (2 wins); 5f handicap (2 wins)
Positives: Non-handicaps (8-30 +£9); John Gosden (6-20 +£11)
Negatives: Handicaps (2-24 -£10)

Others To Note...

Franny Norton has ridden winners at this meeting for years and is a jockey to rely on around this tricky venue (6-89 +£11), as is that man Frankie Dettori (7-35 -£6), though he may need a few warm-up rides as his record on day one since 2009 is 1-14 (-£11) compared to the next two days (6-21, +£5).

Be Wary Of…

Martin Dwyer: 0-15
Daniel Tudhope: 0-16

SIRES

Being bred to zip around the sharp bends at Chester is a quality punters should be on the lookout for across the three days, especially with so many unexposed types with no form at the course.

Top sires at Chester 2014-2018

SireW-R£15f-6f7f-1m1m2f-1m4f1m5f+
Dark Angel17-126-305-269-713-240-5
Mastercraftsman14-60+130-32-118-324-14
Kyllachy14-71-28-356-270-50-4
Galileo13-52+8--0-310-313-18
Acclamation13-85-156-394-283-150-3
Kodiac13-139-378-834-421-90-5
Cape Cross12-52+311-25-194-202-11
Invincible Spirit12-82-38-403-321-90-1
Dubawi11-64+43-201-124-213-11
Shamardal10-40+213-74-253-70-1

Some familiar stallions make up the above list, especially over their preferred distances – for instance, Mastercraftsman’s progeny improved when stepped up to middle distances, as could be seen when Amazing Michelle won here last June over 1m2f at 14-1. Mastercraftsman actually produced five winners here at Chester throughout 2018, suggesting his progeny should be followed across the three days in May, while Cape Cross had six winners here last year – Star Of The East and Baraweez both scoring twice.

Knowing which trainers got the most out of their runners in terms of breeding also provides a handy tool for punters to have up their sleeves, and the following list highlights some of the leading Chester sire combos.

Top Trainer/Sires 2015-2019 (All tracks)

Trainer/Sire/TripW-R£1
M Johnston/Invincible Spirit/5f-5.5f16-69+26
J Gosden/Dubawi/1m-1m.5f25-85+20
C Appleby/Dubawi/1m4f-1m4.5f17-68+18
A O’Brien/Galileo/1m-1m.5f99-392+11
R Hannon (Jnr)/Acclamation/7f-7.5f20-104+13
M Johnston/Cape Cross/7f-7.5f14-70+7
R Fahey/Dark Angel/1m-1m.5f9-119+1

Some notable combos catch the eye above and could be worth looking for out for if popping up on the Roodee, including John Gosden with Dubawi’s stock.

PROFILING

Last Time Out Pointers

FormW-R%£1
Won58-37715%-35
Runner-up33-26113%-97
Third37-20918%+92
Fourth21-19611%-36
Fifth to twelfth42-7026%-359
Thirteenth to seventeenth10-8112%+13
Eighteenth or worse1-293%-25




TrackW-R%£1
Newbury26-10924%+42
Newmarket25-17015%-22
Doncaster17-16111%-59
Sandown10-7314%-24
Wolverhampton10-1338%-13




DaysW-R%£1
5 days or less4-686%-43
6-20 days84-73711%-222
21-25 days26-21512%+23
26-45 days30-30310%-123
46-180 days11-1677%-76
181-365 days47-3518%+8
366-730 days0-140%-14




DistanceW-R%£1
Down 2f or further5-776%-54
Down 0.5f-1.5f33-28112%+29
Same58-50412%-154
Up 0.5f-4.5f101-95011%-287
Up 5f-1m5-4312%+20




ClassW-R
%
£1
Drop 2-5 grades17-10716%-1
Drop 1 grade23-20611%-45
Same66-64510%-214
Up 1-3 grades85-81710%-228
Up 4-6 grades11-8014%+41

Some eyecatching pointers from above includes runners who finished third prior to Chester before gaining compensation here for a tidy profit, while those who flopped the time before in finishing thirteenth to seventeenth also stepped up here – eight came via Doncaster, Haydock or Newmarket (8-33 +£44); runners that had their final stop at Newbury prior to the Roodee also performed well.

Chester Specialists

A final clue to finding a winner at this unique track can be in siding with those with course experience, especially those who already won at Chester…

Chester 2014-2018

Chester formW-R%£1
Yet to win at Chester420-358212%-893
One previous win at Chester67-60211%-177
2-3 previous wins at Chester29-20614%+31
4-5 previous wins at Chester1-284%-24

With those who already won 2-3 times already at Chester coming back to rack up more profits, it might be worth looking out for the following runners should they turn up for the three-day jamboree.

HorseWinsPlacesUnplacedEach-way
Kachy300100%
Hochfeld220100%
El Astronaute23183%
St Marys22180%
Berrahri23271%
Copper Knight20367%
Sir Maximilian22267%
Boundsy22267%
Penwortham34463%
Intransigent27853%
Explain21350%
Baltic Prince22450%
Baraweez20250%
Arcanada20250%
Dragons Tail21350%
Empress Ali22545%
Zenafire22544%
Bossipop21443%

(Only runners that raced in 2018 with two course career wins and a 33% place strike-rate or better at Chester are featured).

Pace/Tactics

Chester has long been viewed as a speedy track suiting those near the pace, but the data taken from every race here in 2018 show that it’s possible to win from anywhere, and that the pace of the race is more crucial.

Chester 2018 – (all meetings)

TacticWinsNumber of runners
Front/Led263 5 5 5 5 5 6 6 7 7 7 7 8 8 9 9 10 10 10 10 10 11 11 11 11 11
Prominent/Tracked525 5 5 5 6 6 6 6 6 6 6 6 7 7 7 7 7 7 7 8 8 8 8 8 8 8 8 9 9 9 9 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 11 11 11 11 12 12 12 12 12 12 12 13 16
Held up264 5 6 7 7 7 7 8 8 8 8 9 9 9 9 9 10 10 10 11 11 11 11 12 12 12 15 16

Clearly, runners tracking the pace came out best, while those ridden more patiently won just as many times as those dominating from the front. What provides a handy pointer are the number of runners, as none of the 14 races at Chester last year with 12 runners or more went to a front-runner.

Draw

The draw is always one of the main talking points at Chester, with those drawn low on the inside of this tight track at an advantage. With that in mind, here is the data highlighting which stalls won most often over all distances here over the last five years.

Chester 2014-2018

5f-5.5f (minimum of nine runners)

StallW-R%£1
17-4715%-7
214-4630%+18
310-5020%+11
46-4912%-9
52-514%-29
63-476%-28
71-452%-36
82-474%-17
93-467%-17
101-402%-33
111-313%-5
121-176%-5
130-60%-6
140-30%-3

View: Stalls 2-3 show the best strike-rate, along with a healthy profit.

6f-6.5f (minimum of nine runners)

StallW-R%£1
13-2612%-6
25-2719%-2
31-274%-21
41-264%-24
53-2512%-3
62-268%-14
74-2417%+14
83-2313%+1
94-2317%+19
101-215%-15
110-140%-14
120-150%-15
130-50%-5
140-50%-5
150-10%-1
160-10%-1

View: Keeping clear of trouble on the inside paid for runners emerging from stalls 7-9.

7f-1m (minimum of 10 runners)

StallW-R%£1
19-6314%-23
210-6116%-9
36-6210%-19
46-6110%-10
55-569%-22
65-628%-20
74-607%-31
87-6111%+32
93-585%-13
104-597%-23
114-518%-5
122-454%-13
130-180%-18
141-166%-6
150-50%-5
160-20%-2
170-20%-2

View: Stalls 1-2 boast the best strike-rates, albeit for a loss as they may have been overbet.

1m2f (minimum of 10 runners)

StallW-R%£1
13-378%-17
22-366%-28
36-4015%+25
45-3913%-17
57-3918%+57
66-3517%+29
71-383%-33
82-366%-26
93-398%-15
102-297%-16
113-2114%+14
120-110-11-11
130-50-5-5
140-50-5-5
150-50-1-1

View: Stalls 3-6 performed best, and £1 placed on them over the last five years would have returned a profit of +£94.

1m4f-2m2f (minimum of 10 runners)


W-RW-R%£1
16-4613%-6
25-4611%-7
33-457%-32
49-4321%+61
53-457%-32
64-449%-1
72-474%-35
83-467%-22
94-4010%-10
104-4110%+15
113-3010%+9
121-195%-14
131-714%+2
140-70%-7
150-80%-8
160-50%-5
170-40%-4
180-30%-3
190-30%-3

View: More of an even keel, with those in stalls 9-13 having more of a say.

What the above shows is that despite most bookies and punters knowing about the low draw advantage here, there are clearly still some profitable hotspots to be found over all distances.

Handicaps

While the Group/Listed events tend to grab the headlines at Chester, handicaps allow punters the chance of nailing a juicy-priced winner. While such big-field events tough nuts to crack, however, the assistance of a few trends and stats can help point the way.

Chester May Handicaps (2009-2018)

AgeW-R%£1
3yo41-37411%-118
4yo26-23511%-31
5yo19-2189%-43
6yo14-14410%-23
7yo5-965%-54
8yo4-636%-21
9yo+1-443%-29




WeightW-R%£1
8st7lb or less10-1845%-85
8st8lb-9st1lb65-58811%-126
9st2lb-9st12lb35-4029%-108




Official ratingW-R%£1
83 or less36-34910%-87
84-9242-5078%-175
93-9929-22513%+18
100+3-933%-74




Distance move from LTOW-R%£1
Down 1m1.5f to 1.5f7-1136%-50
Down 1f to 0.5f19-16512%-3
Same30-28910%-101
Up 0.5f to 2f35-26513%+2
Up 2.5f or further5-1214%-84




Track LTOW-R%£1
Newbury14-4531%+39

Some handy clues regarding handicaps can be found above, especially via the official rating with the classier runners rated 93-99 coming in for a profit, while those gently upped in trip by 0.5f-2f also in the money. It’s also worth looking out for any handicapper that arrived via Newbury last time.

BETTING & MARKET

The battle between both bookmaker and punter is one that will rage for years to come, but what’s been the state of play at the three-day Chester meeting down the years?

Bookie v Punter at Chester – Who’s On Top?

Clear/joint favouritesW-R%£1
Overall71-22132%-3




Non-handicaps46-10046%+21
Handicaps25-12121%-25




Day one22-7330%-2
Day two26-7634%+7
Day three23-7232%-8




Seven runners or less23-6336%-5
Eight to 11 runners40-10937%+13
12 runners or more8-4916%-11




Stalls 1-551-16731%-10
Stalls 6 or higher20-5437%+7




Last time out winner28-7338%+6
Last time out loser42-14729%-12

Favourites

It’s been pretty much level pegging in the betting ring at Chester, though favourite backers sticking to non-handicaps came out best. Similar comments apply to following favourites in 8-11 runner races, along with those not overbet from stalls 6 or higher. Last time out winners that went off market leader here also delivered for backers.

Second favourites

Clear/joint favouritesW-R%£1
Overall41-21119%-11




Non-handicaps16-9916%-34
Handicaps25-11222%+23




Day one11-6417%-4
Day two11-7016%-15
Day three19-7725%+8




Seven runners or less15-6125%-5
Eight to 12 runners17-12214%-40
13 runners or more9-2832%+34




Stalls 11-293%-22
Stalls 2-422-8626%+25
Stalls 5 or higher18-9619%-14




Last time out winner12-6518%-3

The message is clear for followers of the second favourite, and that is simply to look in the competitive handicaps where the likes of Austrian School (3-1) and Spoof (9-2) both struck here 12 months ago. Unlike the jollies, a good draw in stalls 2-4 worked well for second favourites, while the final day on Friday also proved fruitful.

Big-priced winners

There were 24 handicap winners in the 10-1 to 25-1 region during the last 10 Chester May meetings – eight of which were 4yos (8-89 +24). Similarly, those with a blend of experience yet not fully exposed in handicaps with 6-12 handicap runs also came out well at 11-107 (+£42), with two coming last year in Look My Way (12-1) and Star Of The East (10-1).

PLACEPOT

If the prospect of finding winners around the Roodee appears daunting, then an alternative option could be the Placepot. There were some tasty dividends down the years, with the pick of the three days on Friday, which staged the Chester Cup in 2018.

Day Three Placepot dividends (last five years)

2018: £93
2017: £11
2016: £23
2015: £900
2014: £545

With the prospect of another possible £90+ dividend, here is a guide to all six races covering the final day’s Placepot…

1.50: Class 2 Liverpool Gin Earl Grosvenor Handicap (7.5f)

Of the last 30 placed runners during the previous 10 years…

25 were 4-6yos
21 were drawn in stalls 1-6
6-8 arrived via Newbury
R Fahey had 4-11 placed; D Simcock 3-6

Placed runners breakdown of odds:
13-2 or shorter: 17-29
7-1 to 12-1: 10-45
14-1 or bigger: 3-39
Favourites & joint place record: 8-12

Top tip: Respect the market leader

2:25: Group 2 Huxley Stakes (1m2f)

Of the last 22 placed runners during the previous 10 years…

20 were 4-5yos
16 were first or second last time (16-29 55%) – others 6-36 (17%)
15 won during last three runs
13 were officially rated 112 or higher (50%) – others were 9-39 (23%)
13 had a 26-day break or longer (45%) – others were 8-34 (24%)
11 were 2lb or higher than last time 11-20 (55%) – others 10-42 (23%)
Sir M Stoute had 5-7 placed; J Gosden 4-7; A O’Brien 3-3

Placed runners breakdown of odds:
6-4 or shorter: 5-6
2-1 to 13-2: 14-24
7-1 or bigger: 3-35

Favourites & joint place record: 8-10

Top tip: Stick with runners who were first or second last time.

3:00: Class 2 Boodles Diamond Handicap (1m2f)

Of the last 28 placed runners during the previous 10 years…

26 ran in a handicap last time
24 ran over the same trip or were upped in trip from LTO (38%) – those down in trip were 4-30 (13%)
24 won a handicap (24-74 32%) – those that hadn’t were 4-20 (20%)
19 arrived via Doncaster (8), Epsom (8) & Newbury (3)
18 were officially rated 89-97
15 were drawn 1-3 (55%) – stalls 4 or higher were 13-67 (19%)
12 were 2lb-14lb higher than LTO (12-24 50%) – others 16-68 (24%)
10 won last time out (10-15 67%)
M Johnston & Sir M Stoute both had 4 placed apiece

Placed runners breakdown of odds:
5-1 or shorter: 15-20
11-2 to 10-1: 10-37
11-1 or bigger: 3-37
Favourites & joint place record: 8-11

Top tip: Consider last-time-out winners

3:35: Chester Cup (2m2f)

Of the last 40 placed runners during the previous 10 years…

36 made the top three during their last three outings
24 carried 8st13lb to 9st3lb (24-62 39%) – others were 15%
22 were drawn in stalls 1-7 (35%) – those higher were 17%
16 raced 2-3 times in the previous 90 days (16-45 36%) – others 20%
12 arrived via a Graded/Group/Listed race (12-33 36%) – others 21%
R Fahey had 7 placed

Placed runners breakdown of odds:
15-2 or shorter: 15-26
8-1 to 14-1: 17-59
16-1 to 22-1: 6-38
25-1 or bigger: 2-44
Favourites & joint place record: 3-10

Top tip: Concentrate on runners with 8st13lb to 9st3lb

4:05: White Oak UK Conditions Stakes (5f)

Of the last 19 placed runners during the previous seven years…

17 were males
17 were officially rated 97-112
11 were drawn in stalls 1-3 (52%); those higher were 23%
M Botti had 3-3 placed; T Dascombe 3-5

Placed runners breakdown of odds:
10-3 or shorter: 7-12
7-2 to 7-1: 7-17
8-1 or bigger: 2-27
Favourites & joint place record: 7-8

Top tip: Stalls 1-3 have a good strike-rate

4:40: English Fine Cottons Handicap (1m4f)

Of the last 28 placed runners during the previous 10 years…

15 were officially rated 81-94 (43%) – those rated 80 or lower were 25%
14 were drawn in stalls 1-4 (38%) – those higher were 28%
14 arrived via Wolverhampton (8), Kempton (3) or Sandown (3)
M Johnston had 5-11 placed

Placed runners breakdown of odds:
5-1 or shorter: 14-25
11-2 to 16-1: 13-45
18-1 or bigger: 1-17
Favourites & joint place record: 6-11

Top tip: Look out runners arriving from Wolverhampton (8-17, 47%)