The Chester Cup, run at Chester Racecourse over 2m2f, is the feature race of their three-day May Meeting (9th-11th) – Here at TRAINERS-QUOTES we take a look back at recent winners and highlights some key betting trends and stats ahead of the 2018 renewal – this year (2018) the race has been moved from it's original slot on Wednesday and will now be run on Friday 11th May 2018.
Did you know since 1975 we've only had 4 winning Chester Cup favourites win the race?
Recent Chester Cup Winners
2017 - Montaly (16/1)
2016 – No Heretic (11/1)
2015 – Trip To Paris (10/1)
2014 – Suegioo (10/1)
2013 – Address Unknown (12/1)
2012 – Il De Re (10/1)
2011 – Overturn (11/2)
2010 – Mamlook (7/1 fav)
2009 – Daraahem (7/1)
2008 – Bulwark (33/1)
2007 – Greenwich Meantime (14/1)
2006 – Admiral (28/1)
2005 – Anak Pekan (16/1)
2004 – Anak Pekan (2/1 fav)
2003 – Hugs Dancer (9/1)
2002 – Fantasy Hill (8/1)
Chester Cup Betting Trends
15/16 – Aged 7 years-old or younger
15/16 – Winning distance – 2 lengths or less
13/16 – Officially rated between 93-99
12/16 – Aged 5, 6 or 7 years-olds
11/16 – Carried 9-2 or less
11/16 – Had raced within the last 2 months
11/16 – Finished unplaced last time out
11/16 – Won from stall 7 or lower
10/16 – Returned 10/1 or shorter in the betting
10/16 – Had won previously over at least 2m on the flat
8/16 – Favourites were unplaced
8/16 – Placed favourites
7/16 – Irish bred3/16 – Had won at the track before
3/16 – Ran at Aintree over hurdles last time out
3/16 – Ran at Newmarket last time out
3/16 – Won by owner Dr Marwan Koukash
2/16 – Trained by Donald McCain
2/16 - Trained by Richard Fahey
2/16 – Won by the favourite
2/16 – Won their previous race
Key Chester Cup Stats
The race has seen repeat winners three times since 1997
Since 1975 we’ve only seen 4 winning favourites
The Hills yard took the race in 1980, 1999, 2001 and 2009
Since 1975 all winners have been aged 8 or younger
Since 1975 there have only been three winners aged 8 years-old
Since 1981 only 6 winners have carried more than 9-2 to victory
The average winning SP in the last 15 years is 13/1
4 of the last 8 winners came from NH yards
3 of the last 6 winners returned 10/1
Dr Marwan Koukash has owned 3 of the last 10 winners
What do the stats say?
As we head into May the focus switches to the flat with the first two English Classics – the 1,000 & 2,000 Guineas – at Newmarket, but we’ve also got the three-day Chester May Meeting and their feature race – THE CHESTER CUP.
The Chester Cup, run over 2m2f, is the feature contest of a cracking festival (10th, 11th, 12th May) and it’s a race with plenty of trends history for us to use. It’s always a great spectacle with 20+ horses rattling around the tight Chester turns, while it’s a race the bookies have enjoyed in recent time with just four winning favourites since 1975.
Age - Other key trends to note are that 15 of the last 16 winners were aged 7 or younger – with only the 2016 winner, No Heretic going against that trend - while we’ve seen just three horses aged 8 (or older) take the race since 1975.
Recent form - Don’t be too worried if your fancy heads here off the back of a poor recent run as 11 of the last 16 winners were unplaced last time out, while in terms of weight the key stat it’s worth noting that 11 of the last 15 winners carried 9-2 or less.
Draw - Despite being run over 2m2f the draw plays a big part too – mainly due to Chester being one of the tightest of the flat tracks. Therefore, it’s no real surprise that horses drawn low have held sway – meaning they can save ground and get good early positions in the race – 11 of the last 16 winners came from stall 7 or less.
Weight - Being a handicap then weight carried is another thing to note. In recent years we've seen 11 of the last 16 winners (69%) win the race so this have proven to be a decent cut-off mark. While since 1981 only 7 winners have won with more than 9-2 - but it is worth noting the 2017 winner - Montaly - carried 9-6.
Favourites - In short, the market leaders having a poor win record, do note that a fair few have placed though, with 8 of the last 16 favourites hitting the frame, which is usually the top 4 (if 16+ run). However, since 1975 we've seen just 4 market leaders actually win the race.
Top Owner - Look for anything owner Dr Marwan Koukash runs – he loves to win races at this meeting and in- particular this race. He’s sure to be mobbed-handed in the contest, but don’t be afraid to split stakes across all of his runners, especially those that fit some of the better key trends listed – he’s won the race 3 times in the last 9 years.
Top Trainers - The stables more famed for their National Hunt runners have done well too recently, with Donald McCain training two of the last 7 winners, while the current champion National Hunt trainer – Nicky Henderson – sent out the 2016 winner – No Heretic. While in terms of the flat yards to note anything the Hills team send to post should be respected, while the Andrew Balding camp took the prize 12 months ago with Montaly. Richard Fahey landed the prize in 2007 and 2013, while although Charlie Hills is yet to win the race his father - Barry - had a fine record in the contest - winning it 4 times.
TQ VERDICT: With the Chester Cup moved to the Friday we’ve been building up to this 2m2 ½f race all week. As always, a big field line-up (17), so around these tight turns then plenty of luck will also be needed. We’ve also bundles of decent trends to apply to the race, which will hopefully whittle down the runners. The first thing to mention is that it’s been a shocking race for favourite backers with Mamlook in 2010 the last market leader to take the pot, while since 1975 we’ve seen just 4 winning jollies. Things may well change between now and the race time but the Ian Williams yard, that won this in 2008, have Magic Circle, who has been very popular in the betting and certainly a contender to go off favourite. This 6 year-old has also recently been bought by Dr Marwan Koukash, who loves to win this race – he’s landed 3 of the last 10 runnings. However, this horse could only manage fifth in the race 12 months ago and is off a 3lb higher mark this time. He’s also returning from a 209 day break and with 11 of the last 16 winners having raced in the last 2 months this is also against him. On a plus, he’s got a nice draw in 6, but since 1981 only 6 winners have carried more than 9-2 – he’s got 9-3. 15 of the last 16 winners were aged 7 or younger so Silver Concorde (10) and Saigon City (8) have this against them. While with 12 of the last 16 aged 5, 6 or 7 then the 4 year-olds in the race – Jukebox Jury, Grandee and Time To Study also have a slight negative. Despite the favourites having a poor record in the race 10 of the last 16 winners still returned 10/1 or less in the betting – suggesting that punters are not too far off the mark in the race. 11 of the last 16 carried 9-2 or less and came from stall 7 or lower. So, taking the main weight, age and draw trends into account there are three that stand out – MY REWARD, STARGAZER and WATERSMEET. Stargazer looks set to go off the shortest of the trio but with the other two around 12/1 then there should be room to split stakes across all three if you wanted. The Philip Kirby-trained Stargazer has run two solid seconds of late and with just 8 career runs should have more to come. He was a fair sort for the Stoute yard before changing stables, while draw 4 and 9-1 in weight make his profile very appealing. The consistent My Reward is one of just two proven course winners at Chester and around this tricky track that is certainly a plus. Draw 1 is an ideal starting point for this Tim Easterby-trained 6 year-old and a recent third at Ripon should have blown away the winter cobwebs. The final pick – Watersmeet – was a close sixth in the race 12 months ago but gets in here off a 2lb lower mark. He’s had a similar preparation with a busy winter so will head here fit and well, plus in stall 2 he’s got a slightly better draw than last year (6). It’s also worth pointing out that 12 months ago he had to carry 9-8 in weight but due to the 108-rated Nakeeta, who was 10th last year, running he’s only got 9-1 this time. He led until late on in the race last year and only got swallowed up in the final furlong so the lighter weight looks to give him a much better chance of racing up with the pace and hopefully staying there this time. Of the rest, the Ryan Moore-ridden Who Dares Wins will be popular but draw 15 will make life very hard and he’s another that ran in the race 12 months ago. He was fourth last year but is running off an 8lb higher mark this time. While FUN MAC has to be given a big mention as he was third last year and gets in off a pound lower mark. He did well to finish where he did from stall 13 that day so with a better draw (5) this time must have every chance of going well again too and looks a lively outsider – oh, don’t worry too much about his horse’s 181 day break as he 12 months ago he ran third off a 205 day absence.