All about the “Glorious” Qatar Goodwood Festival
The Qatar Goodwood Festival, affectionately known as ‘Glorious Goodwood” is a 5 day race meeting set in the lovely Sussex countryside. It’s one of the largest race meetings in the world and carries a lot of prestige within the thoroughbred scene with it holding 3 of the UK’s 32 Group One flat races which is where much of the horse racing betting occurs, the Sussex Stakes, the Goodwood Cup and the Nassau Stakes.
Where did it start?
Horseracing at Goodwood began in 1802 when the third Duke of Richmond offered the ability to watch and take part in horse racing to local officers of the Sussex militia. The officers held their yearly races in nearby Petworth Park, courtesy of the Earl of Egremont, but when the invitation was taken away in 1801 due to the Earl changing his mind, the Duke of Richmond came to the rescue, establishing a course on the Goodwood Estate known as “The Harroway”.
The first two-day meeting was so successful that a much larger scale three-day meeting was planned for the following year under Jockey Club Rules. On the first day of the newly revamped festival the Duke wiped the floor with all other horses, winning in style on his mount, a horse named Cedar. His triumph didn’t last long though as on the third day Cedar and the Duke found themselves out of their depth when they were beaten by a horse named Trumpator, which was owned by the Prince of Wales (later the Prince Regent & King George IV).
During the Second World War horseracing was suspended so all racetracks around the country had to cease operations temporarily. Upon completion of the war racecourses were allowed to continue to operate but after such a period without horse racing it was expected to lose some of its popularity with the public but what happened was the complete opposite, people turned out in massive numbers to Goodwood in 1953 with 55,000 spectators to see the Tuesday of the July meeting.
The racecourse is considered to be unusual and very complex when compared to most flat racing venues due to many loops, undulations and sharp turns. There are different starting points for different length races and some are peculiar. These include the 1 mile 2 furlongs "Craven Course", the 1 mile 4 furlong "Gratwicke Course" and the 1 mile 6 furlong "Bentinck Course". The starting point for the longest race, the 2 mile 5 furlong "Cup Course" is quite close to the winning post – horses travel outwards on the straight, around the loop and back.
Goodwood in 2017
Goodwood is still growing in popularity even in 2017 with 5 days of racing that is considered by some to be the pinnacle of the flat racing calendar. This year is begins on Tuesday 1st August and runs until Saturday 5th August with 14 major races taking part across the festival.
Date: Tuesday 1st August 2017
Races: Molecomb Stakes & Lennox Stakes
Date: Wednesday 2nd August 2017
Races: Vintage Stakes, Gordon Stakes & Sussex Stakes*
Date: Thursday 3rd August 2017
Races: Richmond Stakes, Lillie Langtry Stakes & Goodwood Cup*
Date: Friday 4th August 2017
Races: Oak Tree Stakes, King George Stakes, Thoroughbred Stakes & Glorious Stakes
Date: Saturday 5th August 2017
Races: Stewards Cup (Great Britain) & Nassau Stakes*
*Group One Races
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