CHESTER'S May Festival comes to a superb climax on Friday - and what a day is in prospect.
Two historic races are the features on 'City Day' - the Blue Square Ormonde Stakes and the Dee Stakes which is sponsored by Aberdeen Murray Johnstone and Halliwells LLP.
Excellent initial entries demonstrate why the £65,000 Dee Stakes is renowned as a major trial for The Derby.
Top Irish trainer Aidan O'Brien - fresh from sending out the winners of both the 1000 and 2000 Guineas - is having his first ever runners at Chester this week on the advice of his
new stable jockey Kieren Fallon, who is probably the best rider around The Roodee currently. Fallon's Derby winners Oath and Kris Kin both won the Dee Stakes before going on to win at Epsom.
The trainer's intended runner in the race is Gypsy King which, after just a single race last season, is already among the leading contenders for this year's Derby.
Half an hour after the Dee Stakes, the older horses get a chance to show their qualities in the £75,000 Blue Square Ormonde Stakes, run over a distance of just under one-andthree-quarter miles.
The race is named after Ormonde, who won all 15 races of his career and, as a three-year-old in 1886, became one of the few horses in history to win the Triple Crown of 2000 Guineas, Derby and St Leger.
Such was Ormonde's fame that he appeared at a reception in his honour at Grosvenor House, London, where he was fed carnations by the Queen of Belgium and geraniums by Indian princes!
Among this year's entries for the Blue Square Ormonde Stakes are last year's MBNA Europe Bank Chester Vase winner Red Lancer and Aidan O'Brien Acropolis, which was fourth in last autumn's Prix de L'Arc de Triomphe in Paris.
Racing returns to Bangor-on-Dee Racecourse on Saturday, May 14. For more information, phone 01978 780323.