Chester Cup Handicap Betting Tips & Predictions – Friday 10th May 2019

Chester’s ever-excellent May meeting draws to a close this coming Friday, with the headline act being the Roodee’s most famous race. The Chester Cup may not be the best contest of the week when it comes to the class of performer on display, but is an event rich in tradition and annually tops the Chester pile when it comes to betting interest at this fixture.

As ever at Chester, the draw will likely play a major role. It’s not impossible for a high drawn performer to go well here, but it is that bit more difficult. Benefitting from a favourable starting stall this time around is Austrian School who looks capable of capitalising on his spot close to the rail.

Top Tips

Austrian School to win @ 6/1

Montaly each way @ 25/1

Odds correct at time of writing but may have changed since. Check site for latest prices.

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Race Info

2m2½f is the trip for this Class 2 Handicap contest which offers a touch over £150k in prize money. Substantial rainfall on Wednesday saw the going at Chester changed to good to soft and with more wet weather looking set to follow, things could well get even softer underfoot.

GoingDistanceClassPrize MoneyRunnersEW Terms
Good to soft 2m 2½f Class 2 £150,080 17 1/4 1-4

Recent Winners

No doubt about the best of the recent winners in the race. Ed Dunlop’s Trip To Paris followed up victory here in 2015 with a win in the same season’s Ascot Gold Cup.

This hasn’t been a race which the market has found particularly easy to get right. The past 14 years has seen just the one winning favourite, with six of the last seven winners all returning a double figure SP.

YearWinnerSPTrainerJockey
2018 Magic Circle 8/1 Ian Williams Fran Berry
2017 Montaly 16/1 Andrew Balding Oisin Murphy
2016 No Heretic 11/1 Nicky Henderson Jamie Spencer
2015 Trip To Paris 10/1 Ed Dunlop Graham Lee
2014 Suegioo 10/1 Marco Botti Ryan Moore

Analysis: Easing ground a concern for some

The bank holiday weekend may have been a relatively dry one but as people returned to work the heavens began to open. With the amount of rain forecast at Chester, horses are in for a greater test of their endurance than might have otherwise been the case. While some will no doubt relish the soft turf, there are others who will struggle to reach their best in the wet on such a sharp track.

All signs point to Austria

Given how many key trends Austrian School meets for this race, there’s no questioning his position towards the top of the betting. Not only is Mark Johntston’s horse well drawn but a previous course win also give his chances a big boost. Past races tell us that a recent run is also of a big help here and the colt looked in fine shape when winning at Musselburgh just last month. Four-year-olds have also fared well in this race when taking into account their rates of participation so the youthfulness of the colt could well work to his advantage.

Low Sun punished by Cesarewitch success

A gusty display in the £500,000 Cesarewitch Stakes saw Low Sun edge out Uradel at Newmarket. The performance is one that has not gone unnoticed by the handicappers who have responded by slapping the six-year-old with a nine pound increase. This substantial penalty combined with an awful draw on the very outside is perhaps enough reason to think it won’t be the six-year-old’s day. Ruling him out entirely isn’t easy though as he is one who often performs strongly in well attended races, especially when fitted with cheekpieces.

Returning champions in action

Only once has Montaly secured victory following his Chester Cup success in 2017. He wasn’t even able to place last season but his poor record isn’t quite as bad as it seems. Andrew Balding has regularly entered the gelding in races such as the Prix du Cadran and Sagaro Stakes which are simply too competitive for his aging legs. Defending champion Magic Circle is also in action here as he makes his first start since bursting a blood vessel in the Melbourne Cup. It’s hard to say if he’ll be back feeling his best but being top weight will make a return to form that extra bit difficult.

Final Verdict: Austrian School to win

Favourites have not fared well in the Chester Cup but Austrian School has all the makings of being one of the exceptions. Heading over to the opposite end of the betting lies former Cup hero Montaly, who shouldn’t be ignored as an each way shout as he makes his Chester return.

About the Chester Cup: The May Festival Highlight

Bend at Chester Racecourse

By the time the Chester Cup comes around the flat racing season has really found its groove. It’s held on the final day of the always popular Boodles May Festival which takes place in the second week of May so many of the protagonists for the summer ahead have already made their seasonal reappearance and the first two Classics of the year are scheduled for the prior weekend.

Racing fans will likely have plenty of fresh evidence with which to approach the race from a betting perspective but the Chester Cup is no friend of punters. The 2 mile 2 ½ furlong heritage handicap provides very few winning favourites but it is an exciting race for those who get their teeth stuck into the runners, riders and recent trends in the search for a winner.

A Stronger Contest Than Ever

The Chester Cup carries the biggest prize fund of any race held at the track all year round. For that reason it is held in the highest regard by local racing enthusiasts whilst people travel from far and wide to take in this big field handicap. Many leading trainers and owners also make the trip to Chester Racecourse for the race.

In fact, it is perennially oversubscribed, so much so that the Chester Vase was scheduled on the same card as a consolation for horses who were unable to get a chance to compete for a winner’s prize which reached almost £100,000 in 2019.

Chart Showing the Breakdown of Prize Money by Position in the Chester Cup

The organisers of the Chester Cup are understandably delighted at the way the race has gone from strength to strength. The prize money continues to improve to ensure a high class field each and every year and the financial reward on offer is not the only thing that’s changed since the Chester Cup was inaugurated way back in 1824.

The most obvious thing that’s changed is the race’s name. When it was introduced 200 years or so ago it was called the Tradesmen’s Cup and then became known as the Tradesmen’s Plate. It started to become known as the Chester Cup in 1874 but at that point it was just the name used by locals as it was officially registered as Chester Trades’ Cup.

It wasn’t until 1884 that the race was registered as the Chester Cup but that was not the end of the changes. As well as a host of different sponsors lending their name to the race, the distance of the Chester Cup has been altered, if only slightly. It was initially run over 2 miles 2 furlongs 77 yards but was extended by 20 yards in 1970. Another 20 yards were added in 1992 before it was bumped up to the full 2 ½ miles two years later, making it one of the biggest long distance handicaps of the flat turf season.

Support Horses with No Impediment in Getting the Trip

Weighing Room at Chester Racecourse

When it comes to picking a winner of the Chester Cup the first thing to focus on is stamina. Horses who have already won over 2 miles or further on the flat should be favoured whilst the winner is almost always aged seven or younger (the minimum age for runners is four).

It isn’t unheard of for a horse to win the Chester Cup on their seasonal reappearance on the flat but many have at least had a run on the all-weather in the six weeks leading up to the race. Either way, horses must be fit when they arrive at Chester and preferably not carrying too much weight. Most recent winners had an official rating in the 90s, with those carrying 9st 2lb or less faring best.

Finally, the draw can have more of an impact on the outcome of the race than you’d think given its length. Those drawn in stall eight or higher will need to run a very good race to have any chance of winning based on trends analysis.

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