Racing returns to Chester Racecourse on Wednesday with a star-studded three-day card at the Boodles May Festival.
The 2021 season opener is City Day, the inaugural day of the festival - and an exciting one at that.
Wednesday's racing sees the breathtaking traditional curtain-raiser of the Lily Agnes Stakes, the Chester Vase and Cheshire Oaks - with some potential future stars on show.
The Boodles Festival, the most famous and well-known racing fixture to take place at Chester, was cancelled last year because of the pandemic.
But this year it's back - and back with a bang it is.
It's shaping up to be a fantastic three days of racing and SPORTbible has the key dates for your diary so you don't miss a second of the action.
When and where does the meeting take place?
The Boodles May Festival 2021 gets underway on Wednesday, May 5 and concludes on Friday, May 7.
The three-day meeting takes place at Chester Racecourse, just south of Liverpool, with the first race off at 1.45pm and the last at 4.45pm.
How can I watch it?
ITV Racing will be broadcasting the festival across the three days with Ed Chamberlain hosting and coverage will start from 1.30pm on Wednesday.
Alternatively, you can watch every race via a betting app of your choice through the watch and bet initiative.
What are the big races?
Here's a quick breakdown of the big races on each day.
Chester Vase (3.15)
Tip: Wirko (7/4)
The renowned Derby trial could throw up yet another top-class performer in Wirko, who is the likely favourite and was a game winner of the Blue Riband Trial at Epsom last month.
Fellow Godolphin-owned Law Of The Sea bids for a three-timer, while winning-most Chester Vase trainer Aidan O'Brien is solely represented by Sandhurst.
The @godolphin Classic contender bandwagon continues :clap:- Racing TV (@RacingTV) April 20, 2021
€700,000 purchase Wirko (Kingman) is a related to a stack of Group winners & makes a winning turf debut for William Buick & Charlie Appleby in the Listed Blue Riband Trial at @EpsomRacecourse :rocket: pic.twitter.com/tUO78Qk6kB
Cheshire Oaks (4.15)
Tip: Darlectable You (9/2)
Darlectable You has yet to show she has inherited their ability, having finished second on both starts, but she improved 8lb on her debut defeat at Newcastle when beaten just a neck in a 1m 2f maiden at Newbury last time and there should be plenty of improvement in the locker.
The average winning Racing Post Rating in this race in the last nine runnings is 100 and that has increased to 104 in the last five, so Darlectable You's highest RPR of just 85 leaves her with at least 19lb to find to win the average recent running.
Winner in waiting?- At The Races (@AtTheRaces) December 1, 2020
Too Darn Hot's sister Darlectable You ran on well for second on debut at @NewcastleRaces earlier today - add her to your free ATR Tracker and be notified before her next start: https://t.co/PcVV1sDesE pic.twitter.com/BkFg15ZdOv
Dee Stakes (4.15)
Tip: Ontario (11/4)
Aidan O'Brien will rely on Ontario to provide him with a ninth victory in the tote+ Biggest Dividends At tote.co.uk Dee Stakes at Chester.
While Ontario has so far found victories hard to come by - striking just once from eight starts - he brings some solid form to the table, having been placed four times at Stakes level.
The Galileo colt was last seen finishing third in the Free Handicap at Newmarket three weeks ago - one place behind Charlie Appleby's Naval Crown, who ran a fine race when fourth in the 2000 Guineas last weekend.
Huxley Stakes (2.15)
Tip: Armory (3/1)
Aidan O'Brien holds another formidable hand in this Group 3 with Japan and Armory, the top two on Timeform's weight-adjusted ratings.
Japan is also entered in Thursday's Ormonde Stakes, so it could pay to focus on Armory - who showed very smart form as a three-year-old and appeals as the type to progress further this season.
Dramatic :100:th Cox Plate sees Ballydoyle's Armory pipped by former stable mate Sir Dragonet, trained by Aidan O'Brien until last month.- Horse Racing Ireland (@HRIRacing) October 24, 2020
Smart investment by new owner Ozzie Kheir, who bought the horse to :flag_au: after a few :cocktail::cocktail::cocktail:
Chester Cup (2.45)
Tip: Almighwar (5/1)
John Gosden has never won the Chester Cup, but looks set to field a leading contender in his first season training in partnership with his son Thady.
The horse in question is ante-post favourite Almighwar, who proved better than ever when stepped up markedly in trip at Newbury last time - finding only a very well-handicapped rival too good for the second start in succession
Almighwar:- Racing TV (@RacingTV) July 15, 2020
:horse_racing: Three races
Out of Oaks heroine Taghrooda, Almighwar (Dubawi) has a beautiful pedigree & shows a good attitude to win again at @kemptonparkrace for John Gosden & @JimCrowley1978 in the Hamdan Al Maktoum colours
Results :arrow_right: https://t.co/sBcsavHpYf pic.twitter.com/hdnKvAVILi
Boodles May Festival 2021 full card and race times
Wednesday, May 5:
- 13.45 - ICM Stellar Sports Lily Agnes Conditional Stakes - 5f 15y
- 14.15 - Weatherbys ePassport Cheshire Oaks - 1m 3f 75y
- 14.45 - tote+ At tote.co.uk Handicap - 5f 15y
- 15.15 - Chester Vase Stakes - 1m 4f 63y
- 15.45 - tote+ Pays You More At tote.co.uk Handicap - 6f 17y
- 16.15 - Boodles Maiden Stakes - 1m 2f 70y
- 16.45 - Deepbridge Estate Planning Service Handicap - 7f 1y
Thursday, May 6:
- 13.45 - Satchell Moran Solicitors Business Interruption Claims Handicap - 5f 15y
- 14.15 - tote+ Biggest Dividends At tote.co.uk Dee Stakes - 1m 2f 70y
- 14.45 - Deepbridge Estate Planning Service Handicap - 7f 127y
- 15.15 - tote+ Pays You More At tote.co.uk Ormonde Stakes - 1m 5f 84y
- 15.45 - Destination 2 Handicap - 1m 2f 70y
- 16.45 - British Stallion Studs EBF Maiden Stakes - 5f 15y
- 16.45 - Boodles Handicap - 1m 4f 63y
Friday, May 7:
- 13.45 - tote+ Placepots Pay May Earl Grosvenor Handicap - 7f 127y
- 14.15 - Melodi Media Huxley Stakes - 1m 2f 70y
- 14.45 - tote+ Chester Cup Handicap - 2m 2f 140y
- 15.15 - Boodles Conditional Stakes - 5f 15y
- 15.45 - Retraining Of Racehorses Handicap - 1m 2f 70y
- 16.20 - tote+ Chester Plate Handicap - 2m 2f 140y
- 19.05 - Racing Welfare Supporting Racing's Workforce Apprentice Handicap - 1m 4f 63y
Odds are correct at the time of publication and are, as always, subject to change.
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Topics: Horse Racing