Boodles May Festival: Preview, Odds and Favourites

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The Boodles May Festival, considered one of Chester Racecourse’s top events, serves as the venue’s opening race of the 2023 season. This prestigious three-day event will kick off Wednesday, May 10, with City Day and be capped by Chester Cup Day on Friday, May 12. It will feature some of the most talented horses and riders. 

Boodles May might not be as large as some horse racing festivals, but it has gained popularity for being held at the world’s oldest running racecourse. It has generated enough interest that horse racing enthusiasts visit bookmakers to place stakes on the event’s outcome. You can find out the best Irish sportsbooks as listed by BookiesNotOnGamstop. These platforms have extensive coverage and great odds for the festival. 

If you enjoy betting on this iconic event, you’ll want to know what horses are the favourites, as this will help you place winning bets. We have covered the top six choices and their odds in this text. You’ll also learn the history of the race and what each day of the festival entails. 

What you should know about the Boodles May Festival

The Boodles, a British jewellery designer group, has sponsored the horse racing event since 2013; hence, the festival is called the Boodles May Festival. However, the horse race has been held for longer than this sponsorship. It consists of three spectacular events: City Day, Ladies Day, and the Chester Cup Day.

City Day

City Day, which is the festival’s curtain-raiser, traces its roots to the 1870s, when an outstanding mare named Lily Agnes won twenty-one races, six of which she won as a two-year-old. On Wednesday, May 10, two-year-olds will compete in the Lily Agnes Condition Stake over five furlongs. This will be followed by the Cheshire Oaks and the Chester Vase, two class 1 races for three-year-olds. There will be seven races on Day One, and while the prizes for each vary, they add up to £345,000. 

Ladies Day

Thursday, May 11, will see spectators don their best looks to watch one or more of seven races. Of all races, the Dee Stakes and the Ormonde are the most recognised. The Dee Stakes, which was named after the river that runs along the racecourse, was established in 1813 and covered one mile, two furlongs, and seventy yards. On the other hand, Ormonde was established in 1886 and is a one-mile, five-and-a-half-furlong race. The total prize to be won on Ladies Day is £375,000.

Chester Cup

The Chester Cup is one of the most popular events in Dublin, Great Britain, and Europe as a whole. It is the longest race of the event, covering two miles, two furlongs, and 147 yards. Formerly known as the Tradesman’s Plate, the Chester Cup started in 1824 and swiftly rose to prominence as the highlight race of the meeting in the mid-1800s. It features the festival’s biggest prizes, which total up to £480,000.

All races take place on the Chester Racecourse, which the Guinness World Book of Records awarded as the oldest racecourse still functioning in England. Like most significant courses in England, it runs anti-clockwise. However, it’s the country’s smallest significant race course, as it’s only one mile and one furlong. 

Which are the favourites for the Chester Cup? 

Below are our favourites for the 2023 Boodles May festival. These horses reached the top of our list because of their breed, age, trainers, and previous performances. We’ll give an overview of each one and their current odds. 


Foaled on March 30, 2019, Israr is a 4-year-old colt that Shadwell Estate Company Ltd. John owns, and Thady Gosden is the horse’s trainer. Israr emerged as the winner in his first race in Doncaster in September 2021. Later that month, he came second at the race in Salisbury. His second win was in Newbury on May 20, 2022, while his third was in Doncaster in October 2022. Israr’s current odds are 9.00, which places the colt at the top of our list. 


Pink Moon foaled this gelding on April 11, 2016. It’s much older than Israr but has a substantial form, which makes it our second favourite. Jaster Capital Limited owns Rajinsky with his current trainer being Hugo Palmer. The gelding has competed in 31 races and won eight of them, the last one being in Nottingham on April 12, 2023. It also has 9.00 odds, which is the same as Israr’s.

Falcon Eight

Sitting third on our list, with 10.00 odds, is Falcon Eight. The 8-year-old bay-coloured gelding is owned by Dr. R. Lambe/Dr and Dr. J. Climax, while its current trainer is D. K. Weld. Falcon Eight, which weighed 11-9 as of December 2022, has participated in 11 flat races, including multiple Irish racing events, and has emerged as the winner in five of them. He came second once and third twice. The gelding has also participated in six jump races but has won only one. 

Vino Victrix 

Coming in next with 10.00 odds is the 5-year-old Vino Victrix. Vino is an Irish gelding owned by Mr. Simon Bryan Shaw Ronaldson and trained by H. Morrison. The horse has participated in 17 flat races and won three. These include the Sandown Park race in July 2021, the Kempton Park race in August 2021, and the race at Goodwood Racecourse in August 2022. As of the time of this write-up, it last ran on April 21, 2023, at Newbury Racecourse.

Aztec Empire

This 4-year-old bay colt was fathered by Sea the Stars and is owned by Isa Salman Al Khalifa. A. M. Balding trains it. Aztec Empire participated in a race for the first time in August 2021, where he came in fourth. Of the seven races he has participated in, he has come first in two and second only once. The colt will participate in a race at Newmarket on May 7 before the Chester Cup, so its odds of 15.00 are subject to change.


Four-year-old Omniscient is the last favourite on our list with odds of 15.00. Ne’er Do Wells Vii owns the horse, while Sir Mark Prescott trains it. Omniscient has participated in eight flat races in its lifetime and has won two. It will also participate in the Newmarket race, like Aztec Empire, on May 7 before the Chester Cup.


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