Looking for Star Quality in the Chester Cup

Chester’s May Meeting provides punters with a chance to watch a variety of Derby and Oaks Trials as well as Group Races for horses older than the Classic generation. However, the Chester Cup remains the highlight. It dates back all the way to 1824 and, at 2 miles 2 furlongs and 140 yards, is the longest race run around Chester’s tights turns. Only horses aged four and older may compete in the race, but the last 10-years have thrown-up some interesting trends horse racing tipsters might want to consider when trying to pick the winner.

The strongest statistic is that all winners in the last decade were rated between 93 and 99, suggesting horses rated 100 or more are up against it. All of those winners also shouldered between 8-9 and 9-6 to victory, whilst all ten winners were also aged no older than eight. A low draw has also proven beneficial more often than not as seven of those winners were boxed no higher than stall-7.

Only four of this year’s 17 runners fulfil the first three trends and these are Stargazer, Watersmeet, Cayirli, and Dubawi Fifty.


Stargazer is already prominent in the betting after just two runs for trainer Phil Kirby, who acquired him after he had been injured when trained by Sir Michael Stoute. He finished his six-race career (all on turf) with Stoute rated 99, after just one win, but was dropped to 95 for his first run for Kirby after 563 days off the track. He ran well that day over 2-miles on Newcastle’s all-weather track to finish second and looked to have improved when winning over 12-furlongs next time, only to be disqualified. He’s really interesting back on turf off a mark of 99 and he promises to stay the extra distance of the Chester Cup on his first attempt at the trip. Having also got the pace to race over shorter trips, he should also be able to adopt a prominent early position from stall-4 where three of the last nine winners have been boxed.


Rated 101 when running sixth last year and the handicapper has kindly dropped him 2lb to a mark off 99, despite him being rated 106 on the all-weather where he enjoyed three wins over the winter. Wasn’t beaten far last year either having been asked to race prominently all the way having adopted a one-off-the-rails position from stall-6. Interesting that he’s drawn in stall-2 this year (like two of the last five winners) which may allow him to grab the early lead against the rail which, combined with a 2lb drop in the weights, could allow him to go very close. Stamina did seem to run out last year though having taken the lead in the straight.


Won one of his four races in France before failing to win any of his first eight races for trainer David Bridgewater. However, after 534 days off the track he returned for a cosy win over 2-miles at Kempton on the all-weather. He’s 5lb higher back on turf though and his draw in stall-17 is likely to make winning very difficult.

Dubawi Fifty

Has lots of decent form on the all-weather track at Newcastle but he’s also two wins from three runs on turf and was a decent fourth in the Cesarewitch over this trip on his other run on turf. However, he’s 7lb higher now after continuing to run well all winter. Closely matched with Stargazer on their earlier form at Newcastle but drawn wider than ideal in stall-10.


The fact that Watersmeet is better weighted and better drawn than last year suggests he will go close but, with a doubt about his stamina, the vote goes to Stargazer who could still have improvement to come on what is only his third start for up and coming trainer Phil Kirby.

Chester Cup Tip

Stargazer (each-way)