Chester Racecourse - Fundamental Info

Chester racecourse
Also known as the Roodee, Chester Racecourse is the oldest racecourse whose track activities have continued to attract widespread influence in Britain and the larger world. According to existing historical records, racing events at Chester started in the early decades of the 16th century. Although some of the official records do not exist, it can be accurately said that events were taking place at the racecourse as early as 1511.

Again, the sporting site is regarded as the smallest racecourse of global significance in the whole of England. It measures about one mile and one furlong – equal to an estimated 1.8 kilometers. Nonetheless, its colossal influence on the history and variety of Europe’s horse sports can only be rivalled by very few racecourses in Britain.

Another notable fact about Chester Racecourse is that it lies on the banks of River Dee. The area of land on which the racecourse stands was once used as a harbour during the Dark Ages. However, sitting around the river bank area led to the closure of the racing facility and, a few decades later, the grounds were used for horse riding training and competitions. Ever since the fame and glory has not waned over the last four centuries.

In the middle of the racecourse, there is a raised mound which is ornately decorated. The mound is popularly referred to as rood’ and has become one of the most prominent physical landmarks that distinguish the sporting spot from similar amenities in Britain. From the word rood’, the alternative name for the racecourse was coined. A corruption of the phrase rood eye’, Roodee loosely translates to "The Island of the Cross". Historically, Chester is one of the leading ancient establishments that have inspired the way horse racing track events are conducted today.

Popular legend has it that the much-talked-about cross marks identify the burial site of the mythological statue of Virgin Mary who was sentenced to hang for conspiring in the murder of Lady Trawst, the legendary Governor of Hawarden. It is mythically believed that she had gone to intercede with the heavens on behalf of the drought-stricken area. However, her supplications elicited a lot of thunderstorms and her statue loosened and fell on the governor’s wife. It is believed that the statue was found guilty by a 12-man jury. Although this sounds like a hopelessly inaccurate mythology to a foreigner it is one of the reasons why locals hold the global facility in immense esteem.

As a result, the guilty’ statue was infamously burned for having caused a most painful murder that sends the whole olden community mourning the onset of the beloved governor’s tragic widower-hood. If this legendary story has any factual merits, then this enters history as the first use of a formal jury in the legal circles. Whether purely mythological or true, these cross marks join a host of other intriguing peculiarities that have made this racecourse outstandingly influential in the world of horse racing and beyond. 

Despite how outsiders may view this mythical record, locals hold it as a time-old truth that cannot be successfully discredited.

Few facilities can outstrip the fame of Chester Racecourse. The site was the home to the bloody but famous Goteddsday football competitions. The historical football melee engendered so much infamy that the authorities of the day replaced the soccer events with horse racing championships in 1539. This change of the track’s functions was ratified with the consent of Mayor Henry Gee. It is the influential name of this respected local ruler that birthed the widespread use of the gee-gee’ term in horse handling. Summarily, the medieval racing grounds have hosted one of the oldest riding occasions ever recorded in the annals of horse sporting.  

The position of the racecourse is one of the strongest explanations for its being a leading racing site in Britain. In particular, its proximity to the city makes event meetings very popular and boosts training and track championships turn-outs. Specifically, the hospitality services offered at the racecourse and in the neighbouring centres make it a top favourite to sightseers as well as millions of racing fanatics in the whole world. 

The Chester May Festival is especially well-attended to celebrate the arrival of the summer season. Chester’s tracks and courses are aptly set in a luxurious background with exclusive facilities that enable patrons to have a first-hand view of horse riding events as they unfold on the track. 

Contact details: The racecourse, Chester, CH1 2LY

Tel: 01244 304 600 

Email: enquiries@chester-races.com 

Visit Chester racecourse website here. 

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