It’s a Series of Firsts for Chester Racecourse this Boodles May Festival

Kicking off the racing season with a series of firsts, Chester Racecourse opened its gates to tens of thousands of smiling faces for the three-day Boodles May Festival, in spite of the truly British weather.

The 2019 season got underway at Chester Racecourse with the three-day spectacular, the Boodles May Festival. The annual season opener took place from Wednesday 8th– Friday 10th May and gave racegoers the opportunity to witness top-class racing at the historic Roodee, which has introduced a host of high-end facilities.

Chester Races Parade interior      Chester Races Parade Rooftop

Recently awarded the title of the ‘World’s Oldest Racecourse in Operation’, Chester Racecourse has raised the stakes this year with the launch of a new luxury hospitality enclosure, a state-of-the-art upgrade to the weighing room and jockey’s changing rooms and a 185 square metre viewing deck for Owners and Trainers above the Entertainment Suite.

Despite the persistent British showers, over 56,000 enthusiastic racegoers descended onto the racecourse over the three-days, 10,000 of those in hospitality facilities alone, with racegoers enjoying a whopping 4,000 bottles of Champagne throughout the three-day festival and 40,000 afternoon tea sandwiches, which, when stacked, would be seven times higher than Chester Cathedral.

With gates opening at 11.30am, guests of the luxurious new venue, Parade with Aiden Byrne, were escorted to the enclosure via concierge, where a chilled glass of Laurent Perrier Rose and paired canape was awaiting their arrival.

The brainchild of Chief Executive of Chester Race Company, Richard Thomas, ‘Parade with Aiden Byrne’ is bringing a fine-dining, city-centre venue to the heart of the racecourse. The totally unique, trackside venue is being brought to life by the man who was named the youngest chef to ever win a Michelin star, Aiden Byrne, through an innovative, six-course tasting menu.

Chester Races Boxer Johnny Nelson in The White Horse Chester.comChester Races The Chester Cup

Offering a totally new experience for Chester racegoers, Parade was designed by renowned interior designer, Michelle Derbyshire and features a luxurious bar, restaurant, roof terrace and extensive living wall, providing the perfect photo backdrop for revellers.

Chief Executive of Chester Race Company, Richard Thomas comments: “In order to operate for 480 years, it’s of paramount importance to innovate and involve, which is something we’ve consistently done here at Chester. Our most recent idea was Parade, as we felt that our clientele would appreciate a fine dining offer at every meeting.  We have put our heart and soul into developing the concept and by using the best in the industry, we have developed something totally unique.

“The team has been working around the clock to ensure Parade was ready, with finishing touches even happening in the early hours of Wednesday morning. However, all of the hard work has paid off, with exceptional feedback from our guests Our three-day launch has been a resounding success.”

As well as the new venue, a state-of-the-art weighing room and changing rooms have been unveiled for the start of the track’s season, with the facilities inspired by the Premier League.  The upgrades for jockeys include personalised pods, a wider bench area, padded cushion seats, televisions and new catering facilities with several jockeys and the PJA expressing their appreciation of the new facilities.

Chester Races Jockeys Changing Room Chester.comChester Races 2018 Chester Cup Winner Marwan Koukash talks to ITV Racing

Andrew Morris, the track’s general manager and clerk of the course, said: “The horses and jockeys are the stars of the show and it is of the utmost importance we provide them with exceptional amenities.

“Riding at Chester is a truly unique experience and we want to go above and beyond for our visiting jockeys. The upgrades have been inspired by football’s Premier League dressing room experience and we’ve already had fantastic feedback from Franny Norton when he visited last week.”

Chairman of the primary sponsor, Boodles, Nicholas Wainwright also comments: “We are proud supporters of Chester Races here at Boodles. We’ve been the main sponsor of the festival for over 10 years as we think it’s just a really lovely day out. The team work very hard to ensure the venue is constantly evolving; from the fantastic course and racing to the unrivalled food and wine offer.  We hope to support Chester for many more years to come.”

Chester Races Samia Longchambon and friends

The racing season continues at Chester Racecourse with MBNA Roman Day on Saturday 25th May. For more information and to book tickets, visit:

Return to the News