Chester races is the oldest racecourse in the country established in 1539.
History of the racecourse
The racecourse known as the Roodee is a 65-acre racecourse situated on the banks of the River Dee. Before becoming a racecourse, the Roodee site was previously a harbour. This was during the Roman occupation of the city during the Dark Ages. As the river silted up, the harbour was closed. Close to the centre of the course there is a raised mound, decorated by a small cross known as a “Rood”. As a result, the racecourse became known as “Roodee” – also known as “Rood Eye”, meaning “The Island of the Cross”.
Location of the racecourse
Chester racecourse’s position and its very close proximity to the city centre, means race meetings at Chester are very popular. It is only a very short stroll from the course to all the hotels, bars, shopping and restaurants. The racecourse itself is a flat, left-handed (or anti-clockwise) and measures just over 1-mile (1.6 km) long. One of the main characteristics of the course is the very short straight (only 239 yards). As a result of this, long-strided horses, which normally perform better on straights, are at a distinct disadvantage.
In 2008, a restaurant opened on the racecourse, by the name of “1539”. Restaurant 1539 offers spectacular views of the course and was named in recognition of the first year that horse racing took place in Chester.
Another relatively new feature is the opening in 2013 of a Pub and Restaurant called The White Horse. You can find this popular pub in the centre of the Course.
Without doubt the most popular meeting is the Boodles May meeting. Consequently the highlight of the event is the Chester Cup which has now been moved to the Friday. Furthermore, even Chester residents who are not necessarily big race fans or race goers get involved in the Chester May meeting. The meeting does generate a sense of excitement and huge local interest and you are also guaranteed to spot a celebrity or two there.
Chester Races, The Racecourse, Chester, CH1 2LY