IN recent years the battle for Flat racing's jockeys' championship could almost be scripted - Kieren Fallon dominated.
But in 2004, Frankie Dettori, reinvigorated to be number one rider again, roared back. This year, the twists and turns in the title race have been dramatic.
First, Fallon became leading Irish trainer Aidan O'Brien's stable jockey and, in effect, wrote himself out of the Britain championship which is judged on the number of individual winning rides. Frankie Dettori broke a collarbone and O'Brien's predecessor Jamie Spencer became hot favourite.
Then a series of less famous names became contenders - principally Seb Sanders and Robert Winston - and the latter was odds-on favourite when he took a terrible fall at Ayr at the weekend, breaking a jaw. Now it's Sanders versus Spencer and the topsy-turvy contest could continue at Chester Racecourse's Blue Square Beautiful Festival next week.
Over the three days from Thursday 18 to Saturday 20, more than £250,000 in prize money will be up for grabs, with the racing highlight being the £50,000 firstname.lastname@example.org Handicap Stakes on the third day.
Racegoers dressed in blue may be selected by Miss UK Amy Guy for the 'best in blue' competition, the winner of which will receive a £100 shopping voucher to spend at Browns of Chester with a personal shopper and a £100 betting voucher from Blue Square.
Before then, Bangor-on-Dee Racecourse stages its annual family day - Wrexham Race-day - on Saturday. There's high-class action on the race-course with the inaugural running of the £30,000 Corbett Bookmakers Dee Hurdle, the richest ever race at Bangor-on-Dee. nFor ticket details on Chester Racecourse's Blue Square Beautiful Festival, call 01244 304610.
The next racing at Bangor-on-Dee Racecourse is Wrexham Raceday on Saturday. For details, call 01978 780323.