Goodwood Racecourse

Published: 15/08/2013

As one of Britain’s most popular tracks, Goodwood Racecourse hosts a wealth of top-class flat racing events, particularly the fixtures associated with the annual five-day meeting known as “Glorious Goodwood,” which is conducted in late July early August. Goodwood Racecourse is situated five miles north of Chichester, West Sussex, featuring a right-handed track forming a triangular loop connected by two bends. The number of fixtures each year totals 19 in a season that runs from May through October.

An Illustrious History

Horse racing has been conducted in the Chichester area since 1801. That’s when the third Duke of Richmond established a course called The Harroway on Goodwood Estate for the benefit of the officers of the Sussex Militia. Jockey Club Rules were adopted for a three-day meeting the following year, and thoroughbred flat racing has been a part of the local landscape ever since.

Over the years, Goodwood Racecourse has been the birthplace of many distinguished and ongoing racing events. In 1812, the Goodwood Cup was formally inaugurated. Then came the Molecomb Stakes in 1829, the Stewards’ Stakes and Nassau Stakes in 1840, and the Sussex Stakes in 1841. In 1877, tribute was paid to the Dukedom that created and owned the course with the establishment of the Richmond Stakes. In 1902 the Gordon Stakes was first run here, followed by the King George Stakes in 1911.

After the suspension of racing during World War Two, the fortunes of Goodwood Racecourse took off. Its July meetings caught national attention in 1953, when some 55,000 spectators gathered for the fixtures of the Glorious Goodwood. It would thereafter be seen as a major highlight of the British flat racing calendar.

In the years since, Goodwood Racecourse has witnessed many changes, including relocations of its Parade Ring and Weighing Room. The current March Stand replaced the old Stand in 1979, the Charlton Stand opened in 1989 and the Sussex Stand was completed in 1990. More races were added to the schedule, too, including the Cocked Hat Stakes, Glorious Stakes, Lennox Stakes, Celebration Mile, March Stakes, Oak Tree Stakes, Prestige Stakes, Select Stakes and Stardom Stakes, among others.

Most recently, the prize pool for the Goodwood Cup has reached £100,000 and the crowds for the fixtures of Glorious Goodwood have topped 100,000. Events have been shown on television since 1956, with the BBC proving the bulk of the coverage. Since 2007, however, the broadcast rights have been secured by Channel 4 Racing.

Racing at Goodwood Today

Apart from the wildly popular Glorious Goodwood Festival, several featured fixtures mark the flat racing season here, notably the early-season clashes of the May Festival, the music-rich Three Friday Nights in May-June, a nostalgic 1950s-themed August Bank Holiday Weekend. Opening Saturday in May features two major races—the EBF Daisy Warwick Fillies Stakes as well as the EBF Conqueror Stakes—and there’s also the Season Finale in mid-October to end the year well.

The configuration of Goodwood Racecourse is unique. It actually comprises a number of courses, starting with the six-furlong Stewards’ Cup Course, which is uphill for the first furlong and mostly downhill thereafter. For longer distances, there is a tight right-handed loop at the far end of the straight from which starts take place, including the one-mile, two-furlong Craven Course, the one-mile, four-furlong Gratwicke Course and the one-mile, six-furlong Bentinck Course. The two-mile, five-furlong Cup Course starts close to the winning post and horses travel outwards on the straight, around the loop and back.

Dining is available at four course restaurants: Gordon, Horsewalk, Double Trigger and Charlton Hunt. Ten bars dot the property, too, from the wonderfully positioned Sussex Terrace Bar to the exclusive Annual Members’ Bar and the alfresco Umbrella Bar on the Paddock Lawn. Festival packages in the Richmond Enclosure or Charlton Boxes run upwards of £530 per person, while non-Festival restaurant packages cost £40 and up.

Published on: 15/08/2013

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