Although officially known as the Qatar Goodwood Festival, racing fans everywhere know the five day summer meeting as Glorious Goodwood. This is the highlight of mid-summer in the British flat racing season and there are a whole host of cracking races taking place on all five days.
Goodwood is located in West Sussex and is a beautiful course operated by the Duke of Richmond’s estate, nearby Goodwood House being the seat of the Duke.
Since Qatar’s sponsorship of the meeting the prize money on offer has grown astronomically. That means that we frequently see the best of the best at Goodwood and with so many great races each day the Festival is right up there with the biggest and best in terms of betting opportunities.
Day One Races (Tuesday)
|1:10||EBF Fillies’ Handicap||Class 3||1m|
|1:45||Unibet You’re On Handicap||Class 2||1m2f|
|2:15||Veuve Clicquot Vintage Stakes||Group 2||7f|
|2:45||Qatar Lennox Stakes||Group 2||7f|
|3:15||Al Shaqab Goodwood Cup Stakes||Group 1||2m|
|3:00||bet365 Superlative Stakes||Group 2||7f|
|3:45||Qatar Handicap||Class 2||5f|
|4:20||British Stallion Studs EBF Maiden Stakes||Class 2||7f|
|4:55||EBF Fillies’ Handicap||Class 3||1m4f|
Day Two Races (Wednesday)
|1:10||British Stallion Studs EBF Fillies’ Handicap Cl2||Class 2||1m2f|
|1:45||Unibet You’re On Goodwood Handicap||Class 2||2m4½f|
|2:15||Unibet 3 Boosts A Day Handicap||Class 2||1m4f|
|2:45||Markel Insurance Molecomb Stakes||Group 3||5f|
|3:15||Qatar Sussex Stakes||Group 1||1m|
|3:45||Alice Keppel EBF Fillies’ Conditions Stakes||Class 2||5f|
|4:20||Theo Fennell Handicap||Class 3||7f|
Ladies’ Day Races (Thursday)
|1:10||Mirabeau En Provence Handicap||Class 3||5f|
|1:45||Unibet You’re On Handicap||Class 2||1m2f|
|2:15||Qatar Richmond Stakes||Group 2||6f|
|2:45||John Pearce Racing Gordon Stakes||Group 3||1m4f|
|3:15||Qatar Nassau Stakes||Group 1||1m2f|
|3:45||Gusbourne Nursery Handicap||Class 2||7f|
|4:20||British EBF Maiden Fillies’ Stakes||Class 2||7f|
|4:55||Tatler Nursery Handicap||Class 2||5f|
Day Four Races (Friday)
|1:10||TDN Australia Handicap||Class 3||1m3f|
|1:45||Saint Clair Oak Tree Stakes||Group 3||7f|
|2:15||Bonhams Thoroughbred Stakes||Group 3||1m|
|2:45||Unibet Golden Mile Handicap||Class 2||1m|
|3:15||King George Qatar Stakes||Group 2||5f|
|3:45||L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate Glorious Stakes||Group 3||1m4f|
|4:20||New Unibet Instant Roulette Nursery Handicap||Class 2||6f|
|4:55||British EBF Maiden Fillies’ Stakes||Class 4||6f|
Day Five Races (Saturday)
|1:50||Unibet Stewards’ Sprint Handicap||Class 2||6f|
|2:25||Unibet Summer Handicap||Class 2||1m6f|
|3:00||Qatar Lillie Langtry Stkaes||Group 2||1m6f|
|3:35||Unibet Stewards’ Cup||Class 2||6f|
|4:10||Qatar Handicap||Class 2||7f|
|4:40||British EBF Maiden Stakes||Class 2||7f|
|5:10||LG Signature Apprentice Handicap||Class 3||1m1f|
About the Meeting
Summer and flat racing go hand in hand. For many racing fans there is nothing quite like enjoying the sun whilst taking in a selection of top class racing and hopefully winning a few bets. When it comes to summer time there is nothing quite like Glorious Goodwood.
Set in West Sussex, just north of Chichester, Goodwood Racecourse is a stunning place at all times of the year but never is it more resplendent than late July/early August when Glorious Goodwood (officially the Qatar Goodwood Festival) takes place. As well as everything that goes along with it, the five day meeting includes a host of top class horse races including prestigious Group level races and some ultra-competitive handicaps.
The three biggest races of five days of Glorious Goodwood are without doubt the Sussex Stakes, Nassau Stakes and the Goodwood Cup. They’re of the calibre that many of the leading trainers will specifically target the best of their string at them and each is incredibly popular with punters.
The Goodwood Cup is the star attraction of the opening day of Glorious Goodwood. This Group 1 offering is run over a distance of two miles and often attracts the very best stayers on the flat to compete for a healthy prize fund which reached half a million pounds in 2018. Like some of the other best races over the five days the Goodwood Cup is part of the British Champions Series which only helps to strengthen the field.
Although it is a very important race in the long distance division, the Goodwood Cup often allows promising stayers to show just how good they are. That was the case for both Big Orange in 2015 and Stradivarius in 2017 who used the race as a springboard to even bigger wins.
The Goodwood Cup is a tough test of stamina so it is interesting to note that runners coming into the race on the back of an extended break do not have a great record. You don’t want to be backing horses who have not run within more than 45 days of the Goodwood Cup. Moreover, most winners claimed at least a top three place last time out which speaks to the calibre of horses sent to Goodwood by their trainers.
Every punter will assess the form from Royal Ascot when making their picks for Glorious Goodwood but that is a strategy that works better on some races than other. The Sussex Stakes is one of those where Ascot form tends to hold up, especially when it comes to three year olds who have been competing against older horses in this Group 1, one mile contest since the addition of four year olds in 1960 and even older horses in 1975.
Three year olds remain the dominant age group in the Sussex Stakes but recent years brought an increasing number of older winners. By the time that Frankel became the first horse to win the Sussex Stakes twice in 2012 we had become accustomed to seeing winners and four and above and each of the 2017 and 2018 renewals were won by seven year olds. Opening up the race to older horses has done wonders for the prestige with which it’s held by racing fans and the prize money has increased commensurately to the point that it reached £1 million in 2018.
Successful older horses almost all come via the Queen Anne Stakes at Royal Ascot whilst the key race for three year olds is the St James’s Palace Stakes. The other important thing to mention is that favourites have a strong record but that too has changed a little in more recent years.
Like the Sussex Stakes, the Nassau Stakes is a chance for three year olds to take on their elders but this Group 1 race is open only to fillies and mares. It’s run over one mile, one furlong and 197 yards and is another race where class tells and the top of the betting market tends to dominate. It is very rare for a horse outside of the top three in the betting to claim the win.
The Nassau Stakes is one of the most historic races that take place at Glorious Goodwood. It was first run all the way back in 1840 when it was named as a gesture of friendship between the 5th Duke of Richmond, who owned Goodwood Racecourse, and the House of Orange-Nassau. The race has changed a bit over the years. It has had the age eligibility changed, the distance changed and was only promoted to Group 1 level in 1999.
There are a few trends to consider when trying to pick the winner of the Nassau Stakes in addition to the record of younger horses. It is a sterner test than the official yardage suggests so horses dropping back in trip should be favoured. For that reason Oaks form tends to hold up well while those who have tasted success in the Ribblesdale Stakes at Royal Ascot often go one to be winners here.
As with any horse racing festival worth its salt, Glorious Goodwood has a mixture of races throughout the five days. Punters know that every race provides opportunity whilst true racing fans look way beyond the Group 1s at Goodwood for their fix of entertainment.
The Group 2 Lennox Stakes is a chance for three year olds who may be yet to find their feet at the top level to contest a prestigious race against older competition. It’s one of the newer races at Goodwood having been introduced in 2000 but quickly caught the imagination as it was promoted from Group 3 level in 2003.
Horses aged from three to seven have won this seven furlong contest since its inception. That is a slight change from the Beewsing Stakes which the Lennox Stakes replaced but the majority of winners at Goodwood were aged either three or four. This tends to be quite a tactical race but the most important attribute is finishing speed as shown by Breton Rock when claiming a surprise 50/1 win in 2017.
Golden Mile Handicap
The Golden Mile Handicap has gone under a few different names in recent years but remains one of a few devilishly difficult handicaps for punters to try and wrap their heads around during Glorious Goodwood. It’s the sort of race that is readymade for each way betting due to the big field, the high number of potential winners and the amount that luck in running plays when deciding a winner.
This is also a race in which the draw plays a big role in proceedings. Generally speaking you would want your horse to be drawn lower than 12 but that can change if those likely to set the early pace are drawn high. The healthy prize fund means competition for a place in the race is so high that three year olds struggle to get a run but younger horses do have a decent record when given a chance.
King George Stakes
The King George Stakes is the fastest race of the week at Glorious Goodwood. Run over a distance of just five furlongs this Group 2 sprint is a real blink and you’ll miss it affair which used to be known as the Audi Stakes.
The specialised nature of these short distance sprints mean that the leading contenders of the King George Stakes will often face each other multiple times over the course of the season. That helps to provide compelling storylines in the build up to the race and some thrilling renewals. The winning time has been under one minute since 1994 with Rudi’s Pet holding the record at 56.01 seconds.
The Stewards’ Cup is the biggest betting heat of the week. This super competitive handicap is run over a distance of six furlongs but is no straight forward sprint. It is always an incredibly tactical contest which is why a certain amount of experience in big field, short distance handicaps is vital. That’s true even of younger horses as even recent three year old winners had been tested in this sort of contest before.
The specialised nature of the Stewards’ Cup and the amount of previous form and trends to go on means that the market tends to be very good at sorting the wheat from the chaff, especially when the draw is made. That is not to say that long odds shots cannot win just that single odds winners are becoming increasingly common.
This Group 2, seven furlong race is a chance for younger horses to take to the stage at Glorious Goodwood. The Vintage Stakes is often used by leading trainers as a yardstick to measure their potential Classic contenders and has been won by Galileo Golf and Highland Reel in recent times.
The Gordon Stakes is one mile, three and a half furlong race for three year olds which is held on the final day of Glorious Goodwood. It’s a Group 3 contest which often includes horses who go on to compete in the St Leger with nine horses winning both over the years. Some of the biggest names in training have won the Gordon Stakes but nobody has matches Sir Michael Stoute’s tally of 10 wins.
The Glorious Stakes has undergone a number of changes since it first became part of Glorious Goodwood in 1979. It became known by its present name in 1989, was closed to horses younger than four in 1993 and was promoted to Group 3 level in 2008. With a prize fund in excess of £100,000 it’s a well-regarded race which is run over one mile, three furlongs and 218 yards.
Named after the Duke of Richmond and first run in 1877, the Richmond Stakes is a six furlong, Group 2 race for juvenile colts and geldings. Like many of these high level races for two year olds many winners have gone on to win big things whilst some have faded into obscurity.
The history of horse racing in Britain is a long and storied one and Goodwood Racecourse has played an important role in it. The West Sussex course has been hosting horse races for over 200 years and whilst almost everything that goes around the Sport of Kings has changed immeasurably, the simple thrill of watching finely tuned thoroughbreds chase each other home remains timeless.
The third Duke of Richmond is credited with creating Goodwood Racecourse in 1802. In those early days it was used by officers of the Sussex Militia for a two day festival which quickly blossomed to a vital local annual event. The third Duke of Richmond used to compete as a jockey and whilst the current Duke retains a watching brief he still works hard to keep the entire Goodwood Estate a world class venue for racing fans from far and wide.
A Complete History of Glorious Goodwood
Referred to as “A garden party with racing tacked on” by ardent racing – and partying – enthusiast King Edward VII, Glorious Goodwood continues to balance relaxation and top-quality equine action with aplomb.
The racing has in truth cast an ever-larger shadow over the garden party aspect of this meeting as the years have gone by, largely down to the steadily increasing quality of the fare on offer. Here we take a look at the key events which have helped to make Glorious Goodwood the summertime racing highlight that it is today.
1802 – Racing Begins At Goodwood
The first racing of any description actually took place a year earlier than this in 1801. That initial gathering was a largely private affair though, hosted by the Duke of Richmond for the local army officers.
It was the meeting in 1802 which was the first to be open to the public. Held over three days, this marked the day when the seed was sown for the five-day bonanza we know and love today. Before too long the meeting would be christened “Glorious Goodwood” by the press, although the festival wouldn’t really take shape for a number of years.
1808 – Inaugural Goodwood Cup
The Goodwood Cup remains one of the real flagship contests at the Sussex venue to this day, and is one of only three Group 1 (status granted in 2017) contests to be held at the Glorious Goodwood Festival.
Initially held over a three-mile trip, a horse by the name of Bucephalus won each of the first three editions, leading to the race’s silver trophy being awarded to his connections on a permanent basis. A gold trophy has been awarded to the winner ever since.
Whilst stamina is still the number one pre-requisite for success, the race isn’t quite the marathon it was, with the distance being decreased to two miles in 1990.
1814 – Glorious In July For The First Time
Late July/early August wouldn’t be quite the same for modern racing fans without this cracking meeting. It wasn’t always this way though, with the 12 initial editions being held in May, before then switching to July in 1814.
1840 – Nassau Stakes And Stewards’ Cup Make Their Debuts
The majority of the racing festivals to take place over the course of the season offer top notch events restricted to the fillies’ and mares, and Glorious Goodwood is no different. Held over a distance just shy of 1m2f, and named in honour of the House of Orange-Nassau (a Dutch aristocratic house with close ties to the then Duke of Richmond), the race was finally granted Group 1 status in 1999.
Also joining the meeting in this year was the race which has grown into the standout handicap contest to be run over the five days – the Stewards’ Cup. Initially held on the opening day of the meeting, the popularity of the contest saw it moved to a headlining spot in the heart of the card on the closing Saturday in 1993.
1841 – Sussex Stakes Enters The Fray
The Goodwood Cup may have slightly more history behind it, but for many racing fans the undoubted standout contest of the week is this event held over the one-mile trip. A Group 1 affair for runners aged three and older, the event lays on a high-class clash of the generations year after year.
The first ever edition of the Sussex Stakes run in 1841 however bore little resemblance to the event we know and love today, being as it was a 6f affair for the two year olds. It wasn’t until 1878 that the distance was increased to one mile and the race was opened to three year olds. Four year olds were then permitted to enter in 1960, with those aged five and older following in 1975.
1877 – First Richmond Stakes
One of the top events for the juveniles of the meeting, this Group 2 affair was originally open to all, but has been restricted to male runners since 1989. 1949 champ Palestine is perhaps the most significant winner in the race’s history, with the colt having gone on to further success in the 1950 2000 Guineas.
1878 – Hungarian King
There are many international superstars to have strutted their stuff at this meeting over the years, but not many who quite compare to 1878 Goodwood Cup winner, Kingscem. The greatest Hungarian racehorse of all time posted an astonishing 54 race unbeaten record over the course of his career, a feat unlikely to ever be seen again.
1911 – King Honoured At Goodwood
1911 saw the Coronation of a new king in the shape of King George V. Goodwood racecourse paid their own tribute to the new monarch with the introduction of a brand new contest at the meeting.
Held over the flying 5f track, the King George Stakes is one of the major draws of the summer months for the real speedballs in training. Won by many of the true greats of the sprinting game, including the brilliant Lochsong, the race was granted its current Group 2 status in 2010.
1941 – Newmarket To The Rescue
In common with many racecourses in Britain, there was no racing held at Goodwood between the war years of 1915-18 and 1940-45. Whilst this does leave a gap in the history of the great festival races, Newmarket did at least do their bit to help out in 1941 – staging both the Sussex Stakes and King George Stakes that year. As of 2019, this remains the only occasion any of the major Glorious Goodwood contests have been held away from their Sussex home.
1953 – Popularity Booms
Glorious Goodwood became a key date on the social calendars of the elite almost as soon as it began but it didn’t take too long for a groundswell of support to emerge amongst the general public. 1953 marked a real watershed moment in this regard as a record crowd of 55,000 watched the action at the track, with around 21,000 estimated to be observing from the free-to-access Trundle Hill.
1970 – Four Becomes Five
Given the growing popularity of the meeting, it wasn’t too surprising when the decision was taken to add an extra day in order to cater to demand and, dare we suggest, make a few more quid as well. Traditionally a Tuesday to Friday affair, the Saturday was added to this meeting in 1970 and it has been held as a five-day event ever since.
1975 – A Vintage Addition
The 1975 edition of the festival saw a bolstering of the juvenile roster with the introduction of a 7f event, the Vintage Stakes. Initially a Listed contest, the race was granted Group 2 status in 2003, and has thrown up a number of future Classic winners over the years, including Epsom Derby kings, Troy, Dr Devious and Sir Percy.
1980 – Royal Attendance
She may be more famous for her attendance at a certain other summertime racing festival, but Her Majesty the Queen does turn up at Glorious Goodwood from time to time. HRH was called into action at the track in 1980 in order to officially open the brand new March Stand.
The structure wasn’t just liked by the Queen though. The Concrete Society most certainly approved of Goodwood’s latest offering, awarding the March Stand their annual award for 1980. Who says Glorious Goodwood isn’t glamourous?
1990 – Modern Modifications
Always keen to move with the times, the racecourse underwent extensive modifications prior to the 1990 festival, with improvements made to the pre-parade ring and winner’s enclosure amongst other areas. A big improvement for racegoers overall, some of the changes also made things a little easier for the horses themselves due to a decrease in race distances. As a result of the reconfiguration, it was necessary to move the winning post a total of 31 yards closer to the race start lines.
1998 – Double Does The Treble
There had been a fair number of horses do the double in Goodwood’s showpiece staying contest over the years – but until 1998 no horse had landed three Goodwood Cups. The horse to change all that was Mark Johnston’s hugely popular stayer, Double Trigger. First successful in 1995, he missed the 1996 edition, but returned to stamp his authority on proceedings in 1997 and 1998.
2000 – Endless Infamy
The turn of the century saw one of the more unusual incidents in the history of this marvellous meeting, in an ultimately ill-fated act of fraud. John Gosden (who it should be noted was innocent in all of this) sent out Endless Summer to come home in front in the Richmond Stakes, with the colt later going on to finish second in a Group 1 over in France.
Nothing unusual in that, but upon closer inspection it was discovered that the horse’s birth had been deliberately mis-registered, and Endless Summer was in fact officially a three year old throughout his “juvenile” season. Such unfair advantages are frowned upon by the authorities and the horse was subsequently disqualified from all four of his juvenile starts.
2000 – Lennox Makes Debut
The turn of the century saw a welcome addition to the Goodwood offering as the Lennox Stakes made its debut. A replacement for the discontinued Beeswing Stakes at Newcastle, the race provides a Group race platform for those specialist 7f performers. Initially introduced as a Group 3, the status of the race was raised to Group 2 just three years after its debut.
2003 – Lillie Latest Group Addition
The Lilly Langtry Stakes entered the fray in 2003, although this 1m6f event for the fillies and mares went under the title of the Gladness Stakes in that first year. Goodwood Cup winner Gladness had her name in up in lights for just the one year though, as in 2004 the contest was renamed in honour of one of the mistresses of King Edward VII, and has been known as the Lilly Langtry Stakes ever since. 2015 champ Simple Verse is easily the most famous winner in the brief history of the event, having gone on to claim Classic glory in the St. Leger.
2006 – Goodwood’s Race Of The Century
The 1975 King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot is widely touted as the race of the 20th century, but when it comes to head to head battles in the 21st century, the 2006 Nassau Stakes laid down a marker that may be tough to beat.
Defending champion Alexandra Goldrun and all-time great Ouija Board were the fillies involved in what turned into a truly titanic tussle. Seven fillies went to post that day, but there were only two in this from well over 2f out. Alexandra Goldrun initially looking to be travelling better, but following a prolonged hammer and tongs battle, it was Ouija Board who prevailed by a short head under the Frankie Dettori drive. This brilliant finish is now a contest etched in racing folklore.
2011 – Midday Magnificent
The great Sir Henry Cecil will be forever associated with the wonder horse that was Frankel, but he did have a few other good ones come through his ranks prior to the “greatest of all time”, including the tough and talented filly, Midday.
Roussalka (1975,1976) and Ruby Tiger (1991,1992) had been the only dual winners of the Nassau Stakes prior to 2009. Not only did Midday equal that when coming home in front in 2009 and 2010, she then promptly went on to claim top spot in 2011 too – becoming the first ever three-time champ, 171 years after the inaugural running of the race.
2012 – The Greatest Graces Goodwood
It takes a good horse to win the Sussex Stakes on one occasion. To land the prize twice had proved beyond all those who had attempted it until 2012. It was no ordinary horse lining up to defend his crown in that year though.
Five lengths too good for Canford Cliffs in the “duel on the downs” in 2011, the mighty Frankel was sent off at odds of just 1/20 in 2012, and duly delivered when slamming his unfortunate rivals by six lengths – becoming the first ever dual winner in the history of the race.
2014 – Qatar Boost
Already competitive in terms of the prize money on offer, Glorious Goodwood received a big sponsorship boost ahead of the 2014 festival. So big in fact that it was the biggest sponsorship agreement in the history of British horseracing.
The gulf nation of Qatar were the significant new backers, immediately boosting the prize money over the course of the week by £2million, with an agreement in place to increase this still further year upon year. The official title of the meeting has been the Qatar Goodwood Festival ever since, although, of course, almost everyone still refers to it as Glorious Goodwood.
2017 – Double Figures For Sir Michael
Renowned for his success with older horses, the truth is that Sir Michael Stoute is a master trainer across the board – including with his three year olds. One of the finest examples of his prowess comes in Glorious Goodwood’s Gordon Stakes. First successful with Electric in 1982, Stoute landed this Group 3 prize for a remarkable tenth time with Crystal Ocean in 2017.
2019 – History Makers
The King George Stakes and Goodwood Cup may come at opposite ends of the spectrum when it comes to the distance over which they are run, but in 2019 they did have something in common – namely that the winner of each race entered the history books for the very same reason.
Prior to 2019 no horse had won either race three years in succession. Now both contests have treble heroes on their roll of honour. Stradivarius was the first to deliver in the opening day’s Goodwood Cup, joining Double Trigger (who missed a year between his first and second wins) on three successes in the race. Then came the bullet-like Battaash from the yard of Charles Hills who scorched the turf for the third year in a row in the Day Four event for the speedsters.