Image supplied by Goodwood Racecourse

The end of July and beginning of August mean just one thing for British racing fans: the Qatar Goodwood Festival, better known as Glorious Goodwood.

Five magnificent days of high class racing, fashion and society, set in the majestic settings of the Goodwood Estate, ensconced in the South Downs.

The picturesque scene is quintessentially English. The history weighs heavily on a meeting which has witnessed many champions down the years.

Over the past forty years, horses of the calibre of Ardross, Le Moss, Kris, King’s Lake, Chief Singer, Little Wolf, Rousillon, Sonic Lady, Soviet Star, Warning, Zilzal, Lochsong, Sayyedati, Double Trigger, Midday and Frankel, have graced the historic turf at this meeting.

Course Specialist recently caught up with Goodwood Racecourse, to get more of a flavour for one of the must-see events in the racing calendar.

What dates does the 2019 Qatar Goodwood Festival take place?

This year’s Qatar Goodwood Festival takes place over 5 days, starting on Tuesday 30th July and culminating on Saturday 3rd August.

Image supplied by Goodwood Racecourse

What sets apart the Qatar Goodwood Festival as an event both in racing terms and for the visitor?

It’s got Pimms, Panama hats, fast horses and one of the most scenic race tracks in the world, what’s not to love?

The Qatar Goodwood Festival is a special and glorious summer racing festival owing to the high-quality and thrilling racing action set against the magnificent backdrop of the rolling Sussex countryside.

What are the must-see or must-do activities at Goodwood?

The Qatar Goodwood Festival, also known as “Glorious Goodwood” because of its laid-back atmosphere and dress code is celebrated for its summer garden atmosphere. Enjoy complimentary strawberries and cream on the sweeping lawns and soak in the atmosphere. If you want to do Goodwood ‘in style’, there is no where better than the Sussex Roof Garden, located in the Gordon enclosure is a chic space with breathtaking views of the racecourse. A delicious gin-based cocktail awaits you upon arrival along with a mouth-watering cheese & charcuterie board.

Are there any changes to the running order for the big races this year?

The Lillie Langtry and Gordon Stakes have swapped places meaning the Gordon Stakes is now on Thursday and the Lillie Langtry on Saturday.

Goodwood have also introduced a new 5 furlong 2yo fillies conditions race worth £50,000 to fill the gap between the Queen Mary Stakes and the St Hughes in the racing calendar.

Goodwood Racecourse Image supplied by Goodwood Racecourse

Have there been any infrastructure developments at Goodwood since last year?

During the winter months, much investment has taken place at the racecourse. The inside of the March Grandstand has seen further redevelopment, creating a superb new betting facility and two new cafés. The Richmond Enclosure boasts a beautiful new hospitality space in The Long View which provides enchanting views across the racecourse; a typical package includes admission, a Coates & Seely sparkling wine reception and two-course lunch alongside other great benefits.

When did the Festival first take place?

The 3rd Duke of Richmond tentatively launched the first ever two-day Goodwood Festival in 1802. On the very first day, the Duke romped home with a horse called Cedar, but his luck soon ran out. On the third day, Cedar was beaten by Trumpator, owned by the Prince of Wales – later the Prince Regent and King George IV.

Image supplied by Goodwood Racecourse

How did the Festival grow?

Horse racing was suspended during the Second World War, but Goodwood’s popularity as a horse racing venue began to grow rapidly during the second half of the 20th Century. In 1953, 55,000 spectators were there for the July Meeting’s Tuesday meeting.

The current Duke of Richmond ensures that the Goodwood Estate is enjoyed by a wide range of visitors and maximises its fullest potential – while retaining its essentially English charm. The racecourse is undoubtedly the jewel in the family’s crown.

When and how did the “Glorious” Goodwood label develop?

King Edward VII once called Goodwood, a “garden party with racing tacked on”. It is known as Glorious due to it being perched high on the Downs, with views towards Chichester and the Isle of Wight off the south coast of England. On a clear day, it is widely regarded as one of the world’s most beautiful racecourses. It is also perhaps the best viewing course in Britain; from wherever you are in the stands, from the most exclusive members-only Richmond Enclosure to the cheapest standing area, you have a perfect vantage view as the horses roar down the hill towards the finish line.

How many people will attend this year’s Festival?

Approximately 100,000 will attend over the course of the 5 days.

Aside from the racing, what else will be going on to keep the public engaged?

Access to all the finest Restaurants and Bars at the Racecourse in the Richmond and Gordon Enclosures. Meanwhile, in the Lennox Enclosure, racegoers can bring their own picnics and for the young, y

How easy is it to get to Goodwood Racecourse?

Goodwood Racecourse is located just to the north of Chichester, only 60 miles from London and 30 miles from both Brighton and Southampton. It is a short bus journey from Chichester Railway Station.

Stradivarius beats Big Orange in the Group 1 Goodwood Cup
Image by www.racehorsephotos.co.uk

Last year saw the first Group One renewal of the Goodwood Cup. How well did this change go?

It couldn’t have gone any better! The Champion Stayer and Ascot Gold Cup winner Stradivarius won the race for the 2nd year in a row on his way to win the £1m Weatherby’s Hamilton Stayers Million. It was a thrilling race as he got the better of Torcedor. Hopefully, Stradivarius will return to try and claim his third Goodwood Cup this year.

How many Group races will take place over the five days?

There are 14 pattern races during Qatar Goodwood Festival

Lightning Spear wins the Sussex Stakes Image supplied by Goodwood Racecourse

Why did Qatar identify the Goodwood Festival as an important event to sponsor?

It is undoubtedly one of the highlights of the British Summer of sport. Qatar’s investment has lead to a huge rise in quality of racing due to the added prize money and prestige. There have been a wide variety of international runners as well.

How can people book tickets and find out more about the Qatar Goodwood Festival?

By visiting the website, www.goodwood.com/horseracing/qatar-goodwood-festival, you will  be able to secure tickets at the very best price. You can also take advantage of Goodwood’s ticket packages and fantastic group rates. \ls