Everything you need to know about Goodwood racecourse
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Five miles north of Chichester on the Sussex Downs, you’ll find Goodwood races. The course is one of the most unique in the British Isles and hosts only Flat horse racing. On land owned by the Duke of Richmond, this right-handed undulating venue has several tracks on it. The Goodwood horse racing course has a 6f straight on which sprints are contested and for races longer than that, running around a tight looping bend is part of the challenge. Horses will sometimes have to tack across from one starting point to get to rounding the home turn.
At its most circuitous for the Goodwood Cup over 2m, there are also sorts of twists and turns for stayers to negotiate. Although there are other meetings throughout the Flat season, Goodwood horse racing is best known for the Qatar Festival, colloquially called Glorious Goodwood. This is five consecutive days held from Tuesday to Saturday at the end of July and start of August. Those Goodwood dates can vary, but there is usually always at least one day of the meeting in July. Given how different this track is to others, not all top horses will run to their best. Others take to it, however, and can become Goodwood racecourse specialists. While the form of races run here is of course respected, it doesn’t always confirm the form of previous races elsewhere.
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What main Goodwood racecourse events can you bet on?
Goodwood races may be synonymous with the Glorious meeting, but there are more days at the track for you to bet on throughout the Flat season. Starting in May, there’s also Friday night cards throughout June, the Bank Holiday weekend fixture at the end of August and a couple of midweek meetings in September before one final day of racing in October. We’ll point you in the direction of the top class Goodwood racecourse events below,
Fillies and mares feature on opening Saturday
Early May, usually the first Saturday of the month, is the first time in the course of the annual racing calendar that Goodwood stages action. The main races on this card are often competing with 2000 Guineas day at Newmarket, another Flat only venue. That’s why fillies and mares come to the fore here while colts contest the first Classic of the campaign in Suffolk.
Two Listed races headline this opening fixture at Goodwood racecourse. The Daisy Warwick Stakes for four-year-olds and up gives the ladies a 1m 4f test and is an early season middle-distance marker. Events of this type have been introduced in recent years to give extra incentive to keep older horses in training.
The Conqueror Stakes, meanwhile, is run over a mile and open to three-year-old fillies and mares and up. With younger types allowed in this, it represents a lower grade opportunity for horses who are not up the Classic standard and running in the 1000 Guineas at Newmarket. Three-year-olds get significant weight-for-age terms from their elders here.
More in May with three-day spring meeting
Towards the end of May, Goodwood also puts on another three days of action following York’s Dante Festival and before The Oaks and The Derby at Epsom. Thursday’s big face is the Listed 1m 2f Height Of Fashion Stakes for three-year-old fillies only. Snow Fairy went on to follow-up on victory here in the Classic in 2010.
It’s a similar story on Friday with the three-year-old colts (and geldings, who can’t run in The Derby) getting one last chance to impress before Epsom in the Listed 1m 3f Cocked Hat Stakes. The effectiveness of this Classic trial can be questioned, however, as the last horse to win both was Troy in 1979.
Older horses aren’t forgotten about either as there are two different Listed events for them on the Saturday. The Festival Stakes over 1m 2f is open to four-year-olds and up, and has a sole dual winner in First Sitting. And the Tapster Stakes is a 1m 4f race that high-profile owner Prince Khalid Abdullah has won three times.
Glorious Goodwood day 1: Get up for the Goodwood Cup
And so to the premier Goodwood races at the Glorious meeting. Tuesday’s card get things underway and there are three group races on offer here. The Vintage Stakes over 7f is a Group 2 for juvenile horses (two-year-olds) only won by the likes of Shamardal (2004), Sir Percy (2005), Highland Reel (2014) and Galileo Gold (2015) in recent years.
Three-year-olds and up contest the Group 2 Lennox Stakes over the same course and distance, meanwhile, and just one horse has won this event more than once. With those appetisers out the way, the first Group 1 of Glorious Goodwood in the form of the Goodwood Cup over a gruelling 2m then takes centre stage.
Also open to three-year-olds and the older horses, this prestige stayers’ event is an obvious target for those types who have run well in the 2m 4f Gold Cup at Royal Ascot. Multiple winners of the Goodwood Cup are common with Stradivarius (2017 and 2018) the most recent. The likes of Big Orange, Yeats, Persian Punch, Further Flight and going further back Le Moss and Proven have all won this race twice in modern times.
Contested since 1812, the Goodwood Cup has only three-time victor in the shape of the legendary Double Trigger, who won in 1995, then again in 1997 and 1998. It’s a real test of endurance on an undulating track the keeps horses twisting and turning all the way round to the home straight.
Sussex Stakes centre stage on Glorious Goodwood day 2
Moving on to Wednesday of the Qatar Goodwood Festival, and the Group 3 Molecomb Stakes is a juvenile sprint over the flying 5f that is always run at a blistering pace. First held in 1829, there’s been almost 200 years of this race which for a time during the Twentieth Century was restricted to just fillies.
The Sussex Stakes, meanwhile, is the second Group 1 of Glorious Goodwood and run over 1m. Despite being inaugurated in 1878, there has only ever been one dual winner of this contest – and what a horse he was. Sir Henry Cecil’s mighty Frankel landed back-to-back renewals in 2011 and 2012. Owner Prince Khalid is one of the most successful owners in Sussex history, alongside Coolmore partner Sue Magnier.
Nassau Stakes brings fillies to fore on day 3 of Glorious Goodwood
The third day of the Glorious meeting puts fillies and mares centre stage with the Group 2 Lillie Langtry Stakes over 1m 6f open to three-year-olds and up the first of two races for the ladies. It’s rare to see females contest races further than 1m 4f and there is no dedicated stayers’ programme for fillies and mares, so this is one of the most high-profile endurance tests limited to the fairer sex.
Before the big one, the Nassau Stakes, there’s also a Group 2 for juvenile colts and geldings over 6f in the Richmond Stakes. Initially open to both sexes from its first running in 1877, it was restricted to the boys from 1989 onwards. The Nassau, meanwhile, is a Group 1 contest for fillies and mares over 1m 2f and three-year-olds get weight-for-age from their elders which punts them at a real advantage.
Some of the top females have landed this feature race. First run in 1840, Henry Cecil’s Midday is the only horse to win the Nassau three times. Pretty Polly, Connaught Bridge, Ouija Board and Minding are also on the honour roll here. Some winners of the Epsom Oaks tackle this when dropping down in trip, while it also attracts fillies and mares that may have run well over a mile but missed the Classic.
Group action galore including King George sprint on Glorious Goodwood day 4
There’s plenty to go at on the Friday of the Qatar Goodwood Festival. The Golden Mile Handicap is one of the most competitive events across the entire five days, while three Group 3 contests support a Group 2 in the King George Stakes for sprinters that headlines the penultimate day.
Anything trained by Luca Cumani or Sir Michael Stoute is well worth a look for the 1m 4f Glorious Stakes for older horses, as those handlers have the best race records with seven and six wins apiece respectively. Jockey Ryan Moore, meanwhile, has ridden three consecutive winners between 2016 and 2018.
The Thoroughbred Stakes over 1m, meanwhile, excludes any Group 1 winners from this three-year-olds only contest. Cape Cross (1997) is a notable victor in this race and went on to be a successful sire of racehorses, while rider Frankie Dettori and handler Stoute have both had six wins apiece here.
Fillies and mares aged three and up tackle the Group 2 Oak Tree Stakes – a 7f event named after Oak Tree corner, which is one of the many features of the Goodwood horse racing course. Al Jazi is the only dual winner in this race’s history and this contest has been successfully targeted in recent years by French trainer Francois Rohaut.
As for the King George Stakes, this 5f dash for three-year-olds and up attracts many of Europe’s elite sprinters because it is nicely positioned between the July Cup at Newmarket and the Nunthorpe Stakes during York’s Ebor Festival. Eight horses have won this King George twice, including the mighty Abernant in the Postwar years and more recently Take Cover, who is the oldest ever winner aged nine, and Battaash. Weight-for-age is on offer and there are penalties for previous wins in the grade and for victories at the highest level.
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Stewards’ Cup completes Glorious week at Qatar Goodwood Festival
If handicaps are your thing, then there’s plenty of those on the fifth and final day of Glorious Goodwood. Saturday’s card is headline by the ultra-competitive 6f Stewards’ Cup where a massive field of thoroughbreds come galloping up the home straight. Given there are always plenty of entries, a consolation race is also held on the same day for horses that don’t quite make the cut.
Winning more than one renewal of the Stewards’ Cup is a huge ask, but older horses do tend to have a better record than the three-year-olds. It’s been 50 years since the last dual winner as crowned, but there is also group racing action on this last day of Goodwood’s big week. The Group 3 Gordon Stakes is a 1m 4f event for three-year-olds only and it can be a useful trial for the St Leger. Stoute has saddled 10 winners with Conduit, who went on Classic glory in 2008 among those victorious.
Celebration Mile an appealing August outing
Over the Bank Holiday weekend at the end of August, Goodwood horse racing is back for a two-day meeting which contains the feature Group 2 Celebration Mile. This is often clashing with the culmination of the Ebor Festival at York and eponymous Ebor Handicap on the Saturday. Top milers have triumphed here, however, and the honour roll includes Brigadier Gerard (1971) and Cape Cross (1999) alongside dual winners Chic and Lightning Spear.
Supporting the Celebration Mile are the 7f Group 3 Prestige Stakes for juvenile fillies won famously in 2017 by subsequent shock 1000 Guineas heroine Billesdon Brook, and a Listed race over 1m 6f for fillies and mares aged three and up called the March Stakes. This is another rare females only stayers’ event and it’s great to see Goodwood playing its part in trying to incentivise keeping these sorts in training beyond Classic years.
The Supreme Stakes – a Group 3 over 7f for all three-year-olds and up – was moved to this Bank Holiday weekend card in 2007 having previously been run towards the end of September. Globetrotting gelding Soviet Line may be the most famous winner of this race for Stoute way back in 1994. It’s another Newmarket trainer in John Gosden who has enjoyed the most Supreme success, however, saddling six winners.
Stardom and Foundation Stakes light up September
There are usually two midweek meetings at Goodwood during September and on the first of those, the 7f Stardom Stakes (also known as the Peter Willett) for juveniles is the feature race. A conditions contest that is restricted to two-year-old sons and daughters of dams and sires that achieved a certain level of success in their own racing careers before breeding, Vale Of York (2009) is perhaps the most famous winner as he went on win the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile dirt race over in the USA.
The Foundation Stakes, meanwhile, is a 1m 2f Listed contest headlining the second of Goodwood’s September meetings. This is open to three-year-olds and up, and mighty international owners Godolphin have seen their famous all blue silks carried to victory on seven different occasions in this race.
Which bookmaker should I use to bet on Goodwood races?
There’s a heck of a lot of choice out there when it comes to getting your bets placed online. With the focus of this page being Goodwood, you want a bookmaker that gives you plenty of reasons to feel Glorious when taking a punt during the big Festival over the summer. Here at OpenOdds, our horse racing experts believe they have found just the sportsbook for you if that’s what you’re after. Unibet, as sponsors of the Stewards’ Cup, are a solid choice for your Goodwood punting. Thanks to their association with the big sprint handicap, you can get extra places when taking a punt each-way on this ultra-competitive race.
You can also tap-in to the best odds guaranteed on all UK and Irish horse racing, jumps or Flat when betting in anything other than the ante post market. That means if the starting price is bigger than the one you took in the build-up, then your winnings are paid out at those larger odds. Unibet also offer bet boosts and a whole host of specials. Don’t forget, the Stewards’ Cup is just one of many races this bookie is partnered with, so be on the lookout for promotions relating to others with the Champion Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival just one example.
Want Goodwood racecourse betting tips? Read them and more here!
When it comes to betting tips, you want to feel confident you are on to a winner. That’s why OpenOdds employ horse racing experts who are perfectly prepared to put their money where their mouth is and give you real insight into big events in this sport like Glorious Goodwood. Our tipsters will put up three horses in all the important Goodwood horse racing and at many other venues too. The first is the one we think is the best value and the most likely to win the race in question. This could be a red-hot favourite and other times we’ll be taking on the jolly because we think it may be vulnerable.
Competitive group action means there is bound to be a danger somewhere, so we’ll also draw that to your attention, so you can decide whether to side with us or bet on another horse who has considerable claims. With big handicaps like the Golden Mile or Stewards’ Cup, farming the each-way betting market could be a wise charge. Extra places and enhanced terms on punts for horses to make the frame can be a very wise strategy indeed, but you need to know which types could outrun their odds and into second, third, fourth or even fifth place and beyond. If you’re on with a bookie who pays that far down the field, why not eh? All bets our tipsters put forward will have a risk rating of one to 10 attached and they’ll also point you to which sportsbooks had the best odds available at the time of writing, but remember these can change!
Tips for races at Goodwood
- Read our experts selections before placing your wager
- Always gun for the value bet/item]
[highlights_box_list_item]Competitive group action at Goodwood
- Check out competing bookies’ odds
Some expert advice and help at hand if you need it
Knowing the Goodwood dates is one thing, but keeping abreast of the latest news in these modern times where we’re bombarded by social media is quite another. OpenOdds are committed to keeping things simple and taking a betting first approach to the latest weights, entries and developments on all the major horse racing events. Our experts ask the key questions, which isn’t so much what has happened but how does this affect the markets?
If you’re a newbie to horse racing – before you even think about betting on Goodwood races – you need to visit our glossary section. We’ve taken time out to explain all the industry related terms in the name of jargon busting. Horse racing should be open to everyone, because it’s such a compelling sport and wonderful day out if you’re live in any attendance at one of many racecourses in the UK and Ireland, so it’s great to be in the know about things you might hear in the betting ring or see in your racecard. Getting clued up on what horse racing terminology means can only help you in your quest to back winners, so get over to the OpenOdds glossary and read our many easy to understand articles today.