THE overall attendance at Chester Racecourse last weekend endorsed chief executive Richard Thomas' statement that 'it's the place to be'.

With attendance at 33,791 on Saturday, the Roodee had the feel of a summer garden party enhanced by competitive racing.

Favourite backers got off to a good start, cheering home the pillar to post winner in the opener on Saturday afternoon.

Backed down to 11-8, Prince Of Light, ridden by J-P Guillambert, jumped out in front over the seven-furlong trip and was never headed to win by one-and-a-quarter lengths from the fast finishing Vanderlin.

Deirdre Johnston, representing trainer husband Mark, said: 'It's just great. He had niggling foot problems in the spring, but it's lovely to see him back and there are lots of options for him.'

Guillambert recorded a quick double when a pace-setting strategy again paid off in the totecourse to course Handicap Stakes.

Instructor, a 6-1 shot, was against the rail throughout and had sufficient pace to hold off Billy One Punch to get home by one length.

Tournedos won the Chester City Wall Stakes for the second successive year.

The 5-2 favourite recorded a winning margin of half a length. Tony Culhane brought his mount with a late well-timed run to overhaul the long time leader Desert Lord in the final strides.

'He's a smart horse. It didn't work out for him last time at Brighton. This is my first winner at Chester and it's going all right,' said winning trainer Eoghan O'Neill following the one-length success of 3-1 shot Gold Spirit in the totepool Text Betting 60021 Maiden Auction Stakes.

Jockey Francis Norton took advantage of draw number one to occupy the inside spot and the colt was never headed throughout the race.

The toteexacta Handicap Stakes resulted in a three quarters of a length win for 9-1 chance Merrymaker ridden by Patrick Mathers for trainer Mark Brisbourne who said: 'You need the ammunition to win here. Give him credit, he's carried a fair lump of weight.'

Out For A Stroll justified a starting price of 7-2 favourite in the totesport 0800 221 221 Apprentice Handicap Stakes to round off the meeting with a neck win from Chicken Soup.

Ladies Evening last Friday attracted 23,376 enthusiasts who saw a closely-bunched field, led by rail-hugging Feelin Irie, enter the straight in the Ethel Austin Properties Handicap Stakes to kick off the card.

Alan Munro brought 6-1 shot Glen-muir with a well-timed run inside the final furlong to grab the spoils by one length from the fast-finishing Pit-bull.

Not For Me, sent off at 11-2, made all the running in the Conditions Stakes and held the late challenge from Bridge It Jo by one length.

Munro notched another success when front-running tactics resulted in a half-length victory for 7-1 chance Azygous in the Kathleen B. Corbett Memorial Handicap Stakes.

Francis Norton brought Vale of Belvoir, sent off at 9-2, with a scorching late run to forge clear winning the Astbury Wren Nursery Handicap from the pace setter Frisky Talk by one and a quarter lengths.

In-form jockey Munro was back in the winners' enclosure with a treble following the Shell UK Handicap Stakes.

The 7-4 favourite Stotsfold came wide of the field in the straight to overhaul the field and win decisively by one-length.

The Cheshire Yeomanry Fillies' Handicap Stakes closed the evening card and reinforced the benefit of an inside position as Aahgowangowan retained the advantage of a good break to stay in the lead throughout and win by a neck.