Classic contenders come first as Chester Cup is switched to Friday
May 9 could be a date worth circling in next year's diary. If history repeats itself in 2018, that will the day that both the Derby and Oaks winner can be seen in action on the same card.
As part of the first major change to the Chester May festival in a decade and a half, the Arkle Finance Cheshire Oaks – won this year by Enable – and the MBNA Chester Vase – in which Wings of Eagles was second – will both be run on the opening day of the meeting next spring.
The Boodles Ormonde Stakes and Dee Stakes will be staged on the second day and the feature 188 Bet Chester Cup moved to the final afternoon.
The Cup has been run on the opening day since the meeting was switched to a Wednesday-to-Friday format in 2003, though it was staged on the middle Wednesday prior to that.
Chester manager and clerk of the course Andrew Morris said on Monday: "We're always looking at ways that we might be able to improve the meeting, 2017 was one of the most successful in our history. We've often toyed with the idea of running the Chester Cup on the Friday and we felt there were good reasons for making the change next year.
"By running the Cheshire Oaks and the Chester Vase on the Wednesday it means that we're ensuring we provide the best possible turf conditions for the Oaks and the Derby contenders. It's the 100th running of the Vase in 2018 so that deserves special recognition of its own, sitting on the Wednesday.
"The Cup is the highlight of our season and the most valuable race in our programme. By running it on the last day it allows a sense of anticipation to build over the three days. And it also means the race is run in front of our biggest crowd of the three days so that seems a far better fit."
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