Racegoers can find Goodwood racecourse just five miles north of Chichester in West Sussex on the south coast of England. The area is situated on top of the Sussex Downs and considered to be a site of natural beauty and, true to form, Goodwood prides itself on being known as “the world’s most beautiful racecourse.“ Said beautiful course is run exclusively over flat and stages 16 Group races across the year.
Racing at Goodwood takes place from May to October, but the undisputed highlight is Goodwood festival, known to racing fans as Glorious Goodwood and held in late July or early August. Glorious Goodwood is a British sporting summer mainstay and a major social occasion, as well as a five-day racing meet where some of the finest thoroughbred horses in international racing have demonstrated their pedigree.
The Sussex Stakes is the biggest and most illustrious race of the festival, and former winners include Brigadier Gerard and Frankel, considered by some to be the greatest horse of the modern era thanks to his 14-race unbeaten career. Frankel, the highest-rated racehorse in the world in 2011, was actually the star of one of Goodwood’s most memorable races when, in the same year, he triumphed over Canford Cliffs in the Sussex Stakes in a thrilling run that was dubbed the ‘Duel on the Downs.’
Goodwood Race Course History
Horse Racing in Goodwood dates back to 1802 when the Third Duke of Richmond sought to amuse local army officers, based nearby. The Duke, who was also their colonel, did so by introducing the sport to the area and establishing a course on the Goodwood Estate. Now, nearly 220 years later, Goodwood has become one of the world’s premier flat horse racing venues.
The first event held here was a two-day meeting that was so successful that the follow-up meeting was extended to three days and raced under Jockey Club Rules. The Duke actually rode a winner on day one but was beaten by the Prince of Wales – later the Prince Regent and King George IV – on the third day. Racing continued to thrive at Goodwood over the centuries until the Second World War broke out across Europe in 1939 and horseracing was temporarily suspended.
After the war had passed, racing resumed and, during the second half of the 20th Century, Goodwood’s popularity grew rapidly. Today, the modern day Duke of Richmond maintains the estate, ensuring the venue is enjoyed by visitors the world over, especially when Glorious Goodwood is in full swing.
Goodwood Race Course track configuration
Right Handed, with two bends
Second bend is a sharp turn that leads into a five-furlong run-in
Goodwood race track bias
Goodwood’s track is right handed with dual bends, the lower of which is used for all races up to a mile and a quarter. Any longer races will also incorporate the top bend. Note, there is a five-furlong run-in from the top bend which runs downhill, making for a sharp track that favors the most agile horses. Look for strong starters too as races can be lost before they begin if your horse is slow out of the stalls.
On the five-furlong course, which is one of the fastest in the UK, sprinters are at an advantage with horses held up nearly always finding it difficult to escape in time to make an adequate charge for home. This is especially true for those boxed into the rail. Traffic can also cause its share of havoc on the round course where the bend hits sharply and immediately after a downhill gallop where the fastest route to home is straight through the middle.
Goodwood race track best trainers
Goodwood is one of the world’s premier locations for flat racing set among the picturesque hills of the Sussex Downs. Most of the action here takes place during the summer and includes 16 Group races. Most noted for its Glorious Goodwood festival, thoroughbred horse trainers work all year round to bring their horses to Goodwood to test themselves among the very best.
Chief among these illustrious names is Sir Michael Stoute, quite rightly considered to be a legend in horse racing training thanks in part to being the only trainer in the 20th century to win an English Classic in five successive seasons while also being crowned Champion Trainer on ten occasions. But who else joins him as a Goodwood trainer to watch out for in recent years?
- Sir Michael Stoute (23.17% win rate)
- C Appleby (22.06% win rate)
- J H M Gosden (21.43% win rate)
- W J Haggas (20.48% win rate)
- M Johnston (15.18% win rate)
Goodwood race track best Jockeys
All of the finest flat jockeys look forward to racing at Goodwood thanks to its history and prestige. One of the mainstays of summer racing, over the years this famous old course has seen many magical moments as well as legendary horses and top jockeys. Some of these are still racing today, others are pretenders to the crown, but how do we know who’s who?
Below we have taken the time to list the top five Goodwood jockey win rates over the past three seasons to help you make informed picks come the summer.
- W Buick (28.79% win rate)
- R L Moore (21.65% win rate)
- Jim Crowley (18.79% win rate)
- S De Sousa (15.84% win rate)
- J Fanning (15.58% win rate)
Goodwood racing season
Today, Goodwood’s racing season consists of 19 unique race days including the main event, Glorious Goodwood or, to give it its official title, the Goodwood Festival. This festival runs in late July, early August and takes place over five days. Of these five days, the biggest race to look out for is the Group 1 Sussex Stakes which is open to horses aged three years and up.
Goodwood’s other big races include the six-furlong Stewards’ Cup which dates back to 1830, and the Group 1 Goodwood Cup which is even older, having started life in 1808. The Goodwood Cup opens the festival and is one of the leading stayers’ races in the UK. Most of British horseracing has some kind of royal theme somewhere and Goodwood is no different as demonstrated by the King George Stakes. This is run over five furlongs and commemorates the coronation of King George V. See also, the Group 1 Stakes which pits fillies and mares against each other over a mile and a quarter and has produced many great races over the years.
Goodwood race track stakes and Graded Stakes calendar for 2019
Saturday 4th May 2019 – Opening Saturday – Flat – Afternoon – Turf
Thursday 23rd May 2019 – May Festival -Flat – Afternoon – Turf
Friday 24th May 2019 – May Festival – Flat – Afternoon – Turf
Saturday 25th May 2019 – May Festival – Flat – Afternoon – Turf
Friday 7th June 2019 – Flat – Evening – Turf
Sunday 9th June 2019 – Flat – Afternoon – Turf
Friday 14th June 2019 – Flat – Evening – Turf
Friday 21st June 2019 – Flat – Evening – Turf
Tuesday 30th July 2019 – Goodwood Festival – Flat – Afternoon – Turf
Wednesday 31st July 2019 – Goodwood Festival – Flat – Afternoon – Turf
Thursday 1st August 2019 – Goodwood Festival – Flat – Afternoon – Turf
Friday 2nd August 2019 Flat – Goodwood Festival – Afternoon – Turf
Saturday 3rd August 2019 – Goodwood Festival – Flat – Afternoon – Turf
Friday 23rd August 2019 – Flat – Evening – Turf
Saturday 24th August 2019 – Flat – Afternoon – Turf
Sunday 25th August 2019 – Flat – Afternoon – Turf
Tuesday 3rd September 2019 – Flat – Afternoon – Turf
Wednesday 25th September 2019 – Flat – Afternoon – Turf
Sunday 13th October 2019 – Flat – Afternoon – Turf
Goodwood Race Course address and website
Goodwood Racecourse, Goodwood,
Chichester, West Sussex, PO18 0PS