70 Early Entries for the 2019 SportPesa Chester CupPublished on 12 April 2019
With the esteemed Boodles May Festival just weeks away, early entries for Chester’s most valuable race, the SportPesa Chester Cup on Friday 10 May have been released. Celebrating 480 years of racing this year, the racecourse will play host to three days of high class, competitive racing across the festival, enough to whet the appetite of racegoers from all over the globe.
Leading Owner in 2018’s run, Dr Marwan Koukash, owns four of the 70 entries for the 2019 renewal. They include last year’s winner Magic Circle, who after a tilt at the Melbourne Cup, aims to defend his title. Unfortunately, he will not be partnered by last year’s winning jockey Fran Berry, who has recently announced his retirement on medical advice.
Trainer Ian Williams (who incidentally trained Dr Koukash’s first Chester Cup Winner Bulwark in 2008) has a staggering 12 entries in Chester’s most valuable race, meaning he could have a strong hand come May 10. Byron Flyer is an interesting entry for the Worcestershire based trainer. The eight-year-old struck up a trio of successes on the flat before being beaten 11 lengths by Stayer’s Hurdle winner Paisley Park on his last start. Alongside this exciting duo, Williams has entries including Greatwood Hurdle winner Speedo Boy and Faithful Mount, who was victorious at the course last season.
Stargazer hasn’t been outside the top three in his last five starts, including success at the beginning of the month over two miles. He looks to build on his 7th place finish in the race last year for Yorkshire trainer Philip Kirby.
Leading Chester trainer last season, Andrew Balding, enters three runners. Headed by 2017 winner Montaly, who after an unsuccessful 2018 campaign will be hoping to regain his crown in the centre piece of the Boodles May Festival.
Britain’s most victorious trainer, Mark Johnston, also has a trio of entries led by the ultra-consistent Elegiac, who out of his 16 runs has only once finished outside the first four. He is untried at the trip, but looks to be competitive if staying the 2 mile 2 furlong distance.
Willie Mullins is well known for his domination at the large National Hunt Festivals; however, he holds six entries for this year’s contest. Amongst them Low Sun, winner of the Cesarewitch Stakes at Newmarket over 2m2f and a graded handicap hurdle at the Galway Festival. The evergreen Wicklow Brave, Whisky Sour, Max Dynamite and Nessun Dorma conclude the Mullins entries.
Local trainer Donald McCain, leading trainer at Chester’s sister course Bangor-on-Dee, is no stranger to success on the Roodee; taking consecutive Chester Cups with Overturn in 2011 and Ile De Re in 2012. His yard in nearby Malpas is currently represented by two entries.
Amongst the absentees are successful course trainers Tom Dascombe and Richard Fahey who will be unrepresented in this year’s running.
Tickets to the SportPesa Chester Cup Day are available to buy online or over the phone. For more information click here or call the box office on 01244 304 610. Hospitality packages are in high demand during the Boodles May Festival, to secure your place contact a member of the team on 01244 304 631.