Goodwood racecourse, located five miles north of Chichester in West Sussex, races exclusively on the Flat and is home to 16 Group races.
Situated on top of the Sussex Downs, the course is known for its picturesque backdrop and unique undulations and is one of the most popular venues in Britain.
Racing takes place at the track from May to October and the highlight is the Qatar Goodwood festival, popularly known as Glorious Goodwood, in late July/early August.
Like Royal Ascot, Glorious Goodwood is a major feature of the social and racing calendars. Pimm’s and panama hats are the trademark symbols of the five-day meeting that bridges July and August at one of the most beautiful racecourses in Britain. The Qatar Sussex Stakes is the highlight of the meeting and has been won by top-class racehorses such as Brigadier Gerard and Frankel.
One of Goodwood’s most memorable races took place in 2011 when the mighty Frankel took on leading older miler Canford Cliffs in the Sussex Stakes. Frankel came out on top in what was labelled the ‘Duel on the Downs’ to win his eighth race in a row, part of a 14-race unbeaten career.
The Qatar Stewards’ Cup, a six-furlong cavalry charge, is a famous betting race, loved by bookmakers and punters alike. For several years in the 1830s, the senior steward at Goodwood racecourse presented an annual cup to the winner of any race of his choosing. The choice varied each year, and the trophy was awarded for events with distances of up to 1½ miles. A perpetual race for the Stewards’ Cup over a sprint distance of 6 furlongs was conceived by Lord George Bentinck in late 1839, and the inaugural running took place the following summer. The race has been won by distinguished sprinters such as Ian Balding’s Lochsong and the brilliant Battaash.
Established in 1808, the Group 1 Qatar Goodwood Cup is one of the leading stayers’ races. It is held on the opening day of the Glorious Goodwood meeting and constitutes the third leg of the Stayers’ Million for staying horses, won by Stradivarius in 2018. Double Trigger won the race three times for trainer Mark Johnston.
The royal family’s passion for racing is well documented and is marked by the King George Stakes. It is run over a distance of five furlongs and was founded to commemorate the coronation of King George V. The leading participants often go on to compete in the Nunthorpe Stakes and the last to win both races in the same year was Lochsong in 1993.
Finally, the Group 1 Nassau Stakes offers a show-stopping finale as fillies and mares compete over a distance of a mile and a quarter. The title of the event acknowledges the friendship between the fifth Duke of Richmond, a former owner of Goodwood racecourse, and the House of Orange-Nassau, and was won in 2018 by the Charlie Appleby-trained Wild Illusion.
Trivia: In the late 18th century, Goodwood became the location for the first flag start on a British racecourse, at the behest of Lord George Bentinck.