whats on

Chester Races 2017: Five top tips for picking winners at the Roodee

A novice's guide to what to look out for when selecting your horses at Chester Racecourse

Hopefully this guide will help you pick some winners at Chester in the 2016 season(Image: Ian Cooper )

Picking winners at Chester Races can be a daunting task, especially for the uninitiated.

There is so much to take into consideration, from the form to the 'going' and the ever-changing odds which flash up on the bookies' electronic boards.

But don't worry, we're here to help.

If you follow this handy guide, it should at least point you in the direction of finding a few winners.

Look for a 'low draw'

The Roodee is a famously tight course and this means that horses drawn to run from stalls close to the inside rail have a big advantage.

It's simple, really. If you're drawn on the outside, you end up having further to run as there is often not enough time or space to move closer to the inside rail.

So pay attention to the stall number, listed on the racecards or displayed on bookies' screens, when you place your bets. You're better picking a horse with a low stall number, between one and three ideally. This is particularly important in the shorter, sprint races.

The Chronicle's racing correspondent Beverley Dee explained: "This is always talked about at Chester. The horses with a 'low draw' have a significant advantage."

Follow Franny

Liverpool jockey Franny Norton knows the Roodee like the back of his hand.

His runners-to-winners ratio at the Roodee is excellent so he's a name to look out for. Norton can often be found on horses trained by Yorkshire trainer Mark Johnston.

Shop around

You can get better value for your money by weighing up the odds on offer. Take a bit of time to see who is offering the best odds.

You can either use the chesterBET kiosks and vendors around the course, or try the independent bookies who set up pitches in front of the stands.

The independent bookies will usually offer better odds, whereas you will get a wider selection of options with chesterBET (place pots, six winners, etc).

Weigh up the going

Without going into the mechanics of it, some horses prefer to run on soft ground while others like the 'going' to be more firm.

So find out what the going is when you get to the course and look in the racecard, as this will tell you which horses prefer which type of ground.

Try to match the two up.

Follow the top trainers

The real 'Chester specialist' was Barry Hills, who reckoned he sent out more than 150 winners at the May Festival during his long career.

The punters at the Roodee loved Hills, and made plenty of money from his winners down the years before his retirement.

His son, Charles, has taken the reins from his father and is a trainer to look out for. Newmarket-based Alan Bailey is another who loves a winner at Chester, while Malpas-based Tom Dascombe clearly means business this year and is likely to have a few winners at his 'local' track.

There is no such thing as a sure-fire winner, of course. But if you follow these tips, your bets should stand a better chance of coming in. Good luck!

View full mobile page