Many horse racing professionals dislike the Chester Racecourse, because it is so full of turns, without sufficient distance for horses to make up on the straight. This left-handed or anti-clockwise track requires special training, and does not suit horses and riders which compete on stamina and strategy. It is essential to get in to the lead early, and to hold it over the bends. The track tests the skills of jockeys and their steeds to the hilt.
Horse racing, however, is more about spectators and the wagering public, and Chester excels in these respects. The sport has been conducted here for almost 500 years, so there is a kind of hallowed feeling about witnessing an event here. Remnants of Roman fortifications lend a surreal backdrop to the thundering efforts of horses and riders as they negotiate the difficult bends of the track.
There are modern touches at the Chester Racecourse, which occupies more than 50 acres on the banks of the River Dee. Helicopter transfers, clowns, and the most stylishly dressed crowd to be found anywhere, create images which make it difficult to remember that the site was once a major Roman settlement, although the modern-day "gladiators" keeping the crowds entertained serve as a reminder.
The Chester Racecourse is a fine example of the characteristic British way of developing horse racing in to a major summer social activity. The season starts in May, and there are important events each month. The city of Chester is close at hand, and adds its urban charms to the experience of a visit. The racecourse is within easy reach of Manchester and Liverpool, and has top amenities for dining, entertainment, and hospitality. It is also a place to be seen by influential sections of the public, and serves as a window to contemporary British culture.
The Chester Racecourse is very professionally managed, with constant investments in both technical and recreational aspects. The track has new stables to attract the best owners and trainers, and has recently introduced the regal sport of Polo. There are facilities to learn this sport at the site, which serves as an added attraction to spend time at Chester. The Racecourse has excellent onsite lodgings in the form of a Holiday Inn property, but it is necessary to make reservations well in advance, such is the popularity of the place. This applies to reserved seating at the track side as well, for the ample capacity is much in demand.