THEY may have conquered half of the world but Saturday’s sunshine almost proved too much for Chester’s Roman soldiers on Saturday.

Soldiers from the Roman Tours Deva Victrix legion had to battle temperatures nearing 80°F (26.2°C) in their heavy armour during Roman Day at Chester Racecourse.

Paul Harston from Roman Tours UK said: “We had legionnaires parading around the winners’ enclosure and escorting sponsors. Their armour is very heavy and they got very hot!”

Head of marketing and communications at Chester Racecourse Rob March said: “Our initial plan had been for the soldiers to have a presence on the Open Course but the high temperatures made this unfeasible in their heavy uniforms.”

Racecourse officials were delighted with the turnout of 24,000 on the hottest Saturday of the year so far.

The 6,000 spectators who braved the relentless heat of the Open Course enjoyed a display of chariot racing and stunt horse riding by the highly acclaimed Devil’s Horsemen. Other family fun included Mr Alexander’s Travelling Show and activities with Cheshire Jets.

Chief executive Richard Thomas said: “To get crowds of this magnitude is phenomenal – pre-sales had been very strong and the weather obviously helped on the day itself. All credit goes to the Roman Tours who braved the heat to patrol the paddock throughout the day to add to the Roman theme.”

Roman Tours is planning to bring Chester’s history to life on the weekend of June 12 and 13 with a two-day Roman festival.

Paul Harston added: “Roman soldiers will march through the city in full armour. Gladiators will fight beasts at the amphitheatre and there will be music and dance performances in Grosvenor Park.

To find out more about the festival visit