Goodwood is essentially a right-handed turf track of unique shape. There are two different bends leading to the home straight here, some races up to 1m 2f using the lower bend with other races utilising the top bend.
There is a chute for 1m 3f and 1m 4f starts on what is one of the best turf tracks in the country, featuring an unrivalled view for spectators. Goodwood is also home to the Glorious festival and three of the country’s Group 1 races.
There are very different start points for race distances here, leading to different advantages for front-runners, hold-up horses and those drawn differently across the track.
Goodwood Course Draw Bias Overview
As mentioned, Goodwood is unique and that makes it potentially confusing for some.
Five and six-furlong races are run on the straight track, seven-furlong and one-mile events move horses uphill and downhill utilising one turn, while 2m and 2m 4f runners face both left and right turns.
Luckily, draw biases are prevalent only over certain distances which we’ll look at a little bit closer.
5 and 6 Furlongs at Goodwood
The Stewards’ Cup draw bias, along with other 5 and 6-furlong large field handicaps, comes to those drawn middle to high in most cases. That was more the case in years gone by, with pace playing a major part now on what is a fairer track, but it must still be kept in your thoughts.
Pace always plays a part, but if all horses held the same theoretical chance, then those drawn closer to the stands rail would take a slight advantage.
If there are much quicker horses situated in the low stalls, it may even things out. However if there are very pacey horses on the near side (high numbers) it will hand an even bigger advantage to those around them and allow them a good tow into the race.
7 Furlongs and 1 Mile at Goodwood
Much like the six-furlong course, a high draw bias was more prevalent here years ago over seven furlongs but still exists somewhat today. Low numbers tend to do best, mostly due to the bend but also the need for many horses to want to stick to the rail up the straight which is easier to do having started there from a low stall.
One-mile races are similar, not surprisingly as they start from a similar part of the course. Many races at this distance are run with smaller fields, meaning the draw bias won’t be huge, but you should always keep it in mind.
Longer Distances at Goodwood
As you’d expect, races over longer distances feature no real draw bias at all. Over nine furlongs and 1¼ miles there are bends to take, but things tend to level out long before the home straight over such distances meaning the draw isn’t such a big deal.
The stayers have to turn left before they turn right, nullifying either side’s perceived advantage. The main draw biases here come from five furlongs to a mile, with the big-field sprint handicaps over six being the ones to keep in mind most.