Chester have opted to make major changes to their three-day May Festival which will see the Chester Cup switched from it's traditional Wednesday slot to Friday.

In the first major changes for the Festival in a 15 years, both the Cheshire Oaks and Chester Vase – key trials for the Epsom Oaks and Derby respectively – will be run on the opening Wednesday, May 9.

The Ormonde Stakes and Dee Stakes will be staged on day two while the Chester Cup – the most valuable race at the track all season – moves to the final day.

Chester manager and clerk of the course Andrew Morris said: “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."