Trainer Ian Williams is looking to win his third tote+ Chester Cup Handicap at the Boodles May Festival at Chester Racecourse this Friday.

Following success in the race in 2008 and 2018, Williams has four declared for this year’s renewal, headed by the The Grand Visir and Reshoun.

Ian Williams told Chester Racecourse: "The Boodles May Festival is always very special for us. We have had a long association with Chester and have been fortunate enough to win two Chester Cups in the past, and lots of other winners at the festival."

Williams landed his first tote+ Chester Cup victory with Bulwark in 2008, before Magic Circle cruised home to win by six lengths in 2018, awarding Williams a second victory.

Bulwark and Magic Circle both won in the famous colours of owner Dr Marwan Koukash, two of five tote+ Chester Cup winners for the owner.

Mr Williams added: "Bulwark was our first Chester Cup winner many years ago for Peter Le Gros and Dr Marwan Koukash.

"Dr Marwan has gone on for many years and has probably been the biggest supporter of Chester races in the last ten years. He’s had a lot of winners there and he supports us well.

"It was a big day [Bulwark winning] and not only did it help my career on the flat get going, but it also helped Marwan Koukash’s ownership on the flat become a real passion for him."

This year Williams’ challenge in the £151,000 showpiece is led by stablemates The Grand Visir and Reshoun. The former finished second behind Falcon Eight under Richard Kingscote last year and Williams has been pleased with the eight-year-olds preparations at home. Jim Crowley is booked to ride.

"The Grand Visir was second in the race last year. I was a little bit concerned that he wasn’t quite fit enough to be at his best that day and he ran an absolute stormer. He then went onto run well at Royal Ascot.

"He would be in good nick this year, probably where we would want him. He recently had a little blow out at Wolverhampton, and he’s come out of that well. I’m looking forward to seeing him at Chester."

Another key entry for the stable is Reshoun who provided Ian Williams with a Royal Ascot winner in 2021 when landing the Ascot Stakes. Williams believes the draw at Chester could play a key role in his performance, with the eight-year-old slow into stride in the race last year.

"He is a little bit of a monkey Reshoun. He won at Royal Ascot last year and he comes back to the Chester Cup on a fair mark. The important thing with Reshoun is to get out of the stalls. His whole race is predominantly around how he comes out of the stalls."

The pair are joined by stablemates Haliphon and Byron Flyer in a total field of 17 runners.

The Boodles May Festival takes place at Chester Racecourse from Wednesday 4th May to Friday 6th May. For more information and to purchase tickets, please visit