Chester Racecourse is on the site of what was once the Roman Port and it was once an island or at least a partial one as the River once swept in a curve around it's eastern side beneath the city walls and it was at this point that the Romans built their Port. The name Roodee means Island of the cross and there is still a Medieval cross that stands alone in the middle of the Racecourse.
It is one of the Oldest Racecourses in Britain and it originated as the Men and Boys of the town used to divide into teams each shrove tuesday far a mad game based on getting a football from the Rhoodee to the Common hall (town hall), things got violent and so in 1541 Henry Gee the Mayor cancelled the game and instead put up a Cup for a horse race and an Archery contest.
Races are held May to September with the highlight of the year being the May Festival which is the largest followed by The most spectacular Roman Race day in June and the more social meeting in July and the August meeting which includes the biggest family fun day of any racecourse in Britain.
Disabled racegoers each with one companion may enter restricted areas free of charge, passes issued from the marquee
Known as the Roodee,is the oldest racecourse still in use in England.Horse racing in Chester dates back to the sixtnteenth century.It is thought to be the smallest racecourse of significance in England at 1 mile and 1 furlong long.
The 65 acre racecourse lies on the banks of the River Dee.The site was once a harbour during the Roman settlement of the city during the Dark Ages,but was closed as the river silted up making navigation impossible.Towards the centre of the in field is a raised mound which is decorated by a small cross known as the 'Rood',it is from this that the course gets its name the 'Roodee'.Roodee is a corruption of 'Rood-Eye'which means 'Island of the Cross'.
notable yearly races that take place here are the 'Chester cup'and 'Chester Vase'
The course is very popular with its short walk to nearby hotels and bars in the city centre.
The racecourse is one of the oldest in Britain and you can get a good view of it during the circuit of the walls.
The home of Chester Races is the beautiful 65-acre Roodee- the "Sweet rood of Chester" (Gascoigne 1575)- whose curious name derives from the Saxon Rood- a cross and the Norse suffix Eye- meaning an island- literally 'The Island of the Cross'.
In Saxon times, the waters of the Dee covered the whole of this area with the exception of a small island upon which stood a stone cross, the stump of which you may still see in the middle of the racecourse today.
The Roodee is Chester Racecourse. It is the oldest racecourse in Britain. The first official horse race took place here in 1539, but it was originally a Roman circuit. The famous Chester Festival is held here every May. Important races include the Chester Cup, Chester Oaks, Dee Stakes and Chester Vase.
This used to be the site of Chester's Roman harbour until, after the building of the weir, the River Dee silted up to become the size it is today. The only remaining reminder of this site's maritime past is a stone cross which stands in the middle of the Roodee. which exhibits the marks of water ripples. The Roodee is one of the smallest race tracks in England and it's tight bends make it very difficult for a horse with an outside draw to win.
2009 ticket prices range from £7 for the Open Course to £41 for the County Concourse. Annual Badges for entrance to all meetings in 2009 cost £371.50. Car parking is £7.
I'm not a fan of horseracing but if I had to attend a race meeting then it would be Chester without hesitation. It is the nicest racecourse in England, enclosed within the area between the river Dee and the city walls with a backdrop of Grosvenor bridge and the huge houses of Curzon Park the other side of the river.
The only downside is the very limited number of race meetings that the course hosts every year.
To make up for the lack of race meetings though the course hosts other events from classic car shows to show jumping.
Even when there is nothing happening its worth taking a wander over to see the course and its glorious setting.
You might be lucky and be in Chester in time to catch one of the races at the famous Chester Racecourse. Or you, like me, might be lucky enough to attend a soiree there for the creme de la creme of Cheshire society. True story. For one brief shining moment, my then-girlfriend (I guess I can call her that) and I were treading the light fantastic at a party for Cheshire's best and brightest. Again, in an alternate universe, I might be there now...
But if neither of these events occur, you can still enjoy the sight of the racecourse as it streches from wall to river. It's quite lovely, in a pastoral, equine sort of way.
It was quite interesting to be staying in a hotel that was on the racecourse and even has a restaurant which I ate at too.
This is the home to both racing and polo! I am not such an expert on horses, but I think that the course here is well known and unusual - it seems most of the course is run on the curve. It is a flat course too, no jumps!!
It seems that the racing season at Chester starts in the month of May.
NOTE: I am informed that the sport of Kings is not racing but Polo - so the course qualifies which ever is true.