Chester May Festival

The Chester May Festival is a three-day race meet held at the historic Chester Racecourse in May. The Chester Racecourse holds the record for the oldest racecourse still in operation by the Guinness Book of World Records. The official year noted where racing came to Chester is 1539 giving this track a very long history.
The Chester May Festival consists of six main stakes races held Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. These races are the Cheshire Oaks, Chester Vase, Ormonde Stakes, Dee Stakes, Huxley Stakes, and the Chester Cup. These six races have produced some incredibly successful horses, jockeys, and trainers over the years.

Most Successful Horse: Maraahel

Despite a long history and many many varied races over the years at the Chester May Festival, there have been few genuinely dominant horses to emerge from the pack. Maraahel is the most successful horse over the six races, and they won three races in consecutive years. Maraahel won the Huxley Stakes in 2005, 2006, and 2007 trained by Sir Michael Stoute. Sir Michael Stoute went on to be the most successful trainer in the history of the Huxley Stakes with six all-time wins, the latest being in 2016 but falls far short of the greatest trainer in the history of the Chester May Festival.
Maraahel’s wins were impressive because they came in consecutive years over three years. The second-best horse only won two races each. There is a sizable group of horses to win two races, and many of them consecutive. What puts Maraahel over the top was the ability to break through the wall and win that third straight race. Only time will tell if anyone will challenge Maraahel at the Chester May Festival for their historic three consecutive wins record.

Most Successful Trainer: Barry Hills

While Sir Michael Stout has the distinction of training the winningest horse in the history of the Chester May Festival while taking home a nice cabinet of silverware for himself, he pales in comparison to Barry Hills. He holds the Chester May Festival record for a trainer at eleven wins. Mr. Hills dominated the Dee Stakes from 1970 until 1990, where he racked up nine wins in twenty years before picking up two later wins to put him at eleven. No other trainer in the history of the Chester May Festival has reached double-digit wins for the event.
Barry Hills wasn’t only a great trainer for the Chester May Festival. He earned the Lifetime Achievement Award at the Derby Awards for his success in training. He trained over three thousand winning horses throughout his career and won significant events all over the United Kingdom, Ireland, and France for decades. Barry Hills is truly a legend who left his historic mark on the Chester May Festival.

Most Successful Jockey: Ryan Moore

Racing primarily in the Chester Vase, Ryan Moore currently holds the most jockey wins at the Chester May Festival with seven total. His success in the races started in 2008, and he has won all seven of his Chester May Festival races in the time since. He won all seven of his races on seven different horses showing a rare consistency.
Ryan Moore is one of the most successful jockeys in England today and has racked up over 1,000 total wins in his career. His success has put him in touch with the likes of Sir Michael Stoute, who trained the winningest horse in the Chester May Festival. He has also ridden horses out of the Queen’s stable. Despite all of the other amazing feats in his career, Ryan Moore still holds the record for most wins at the Chester May Festival. Other jockeys have managed to secure five or six career wins at the meet, but so far, none have been able to surpass Ryan Moore. Ryan Moore is still an active jockey today, so he has a chance to get more wins to finish out his career at the historic meet.
The Chester May Festival drips with history. From Maraahel’s historic three-peat to Sir Michael Stoute’s dominance and decorated career, the oldest active horse racing track in the world continues to create history year after year at the Chester May Festival.

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