With the historic Qatar Goodwood Festival round the corner, The Wine Tipster looks back on the history of the festival as well as the stunning setting of the races.
The picturesque setting of Goodwood Racecourse is also home to Goodwood House, which is now restored to its former Regency glory; a motor circuit which has resounded to the roar of historic racing cars since 1998; a hotel and country club, aerodrome, golf club, organic farm and restaurants, and more. Covering 11,500 acres, the Goodwood Estate has a unique ambiance and air of understated glamour which has drawn people to it for three centuries of ownership by the Dukes of Richmond.
As a day out, it offers a great array of activities for all the family, but why not extend your visit and stay in The Goodwood Hotel? A stone’s throw from the cultural city of Chichester, The Goodwood Hotel offers responsible dining options from their fully sustainable farm, stunning leisure facilities, modern and beautiful rooms, and the chance to participate in the amazing activities on offer at the estate. Facilities are now open with safe distancing measures in place.
For hospitality, The Wine Tipster especially likes The Kennels – the modern central clubhouse for all of the Estate’s sporting and social members – and Farmer, Butcher, Chef, Goodwood’s onsite sustainable flagship restaurant. The unique collaboration of these three professions results in imaginative, well thought through and beautiful dishes which showcase the meat on offer and highlight the different cuts. As one of Europe’s only self-sustaining organic farms, customers will end up travelling further than the food!
The Qatar Goodwood Festival – Glorious Goodwood – runs every year at the end of July to early August, with a range of top class racing taking place every day. The racecourse celebrated its 200th anniversary in 2002 and the occasion was marked by the publication of the Glorious Goodwood book and video. At the end of 2014, Goodwood Racecourse announced the biggest sponsorship deal ever in British racing involving a 10-year agreement with Qatar. The partnership, which commenced in 2015, resulted in over £2 million extra being invested into prize money for eight key races during the Qatar Goodwood Festival as well as a commitment to increase this year-on-year. Total prize money on offer for the week in 2019 came to approaching £5.6 million, with Qatar continuing to demonstrate passion and support for British racing.
The five days are filled with a number of historic races to enjoy, and a huge array of talented horses. Here are the featured races for each day of the meeting and The Glorious Five horses to watch in the 2020 festival:
The Goodwood Cup, promoted to Group One status for the first time in 2017, is the highlight of the opening day and carries a prize fund of £500,000. First run in May of 1812, this is a British Champions Series featuring three+ year olds over two miles. The Goodwood Cup has been won by a long list of impressive and popular horses, often multiple times, including Yeats, who was without doubt one of the greatest stayers of the modern era with an unprecedented four Ascot Gold Cup triumphs to his name, and the Aidan O’Brien-trained champion was imperious in winning a second Goodwood Cup in 2008, having first triumphed in 2006.
Stradivarius won an unprecedented third consecutive title in 2019, and is one of 2020’s Glorious Five to watch. Will he make it four wins on the trot?
The Group One Qatar Sussex Stakes has a prize fund of £1 million, guaranteeing its position as one of the most valuable mile races in the world. The Sussex Stakes was first run as a race for two-year-olds in 1841 and remained so for 37 years, during which it was uncontested on 25 occasions, with 14 walkovers. The unbeaten three-year-old Frankel created history in 2012 by becoming the first horse to win the Qatar Sussex Stakes twice. Starting at odds of 1-20, the hottest-ever favourite in the race’s long history, the amazing colt had little difficulty in going away from his closest rival Farhh by six lengths – a joint record winning distance. The Sussex Stakes has also been won by the French sensation Solow and Too Darn Hot.
Sir Gordon Richards, with eight victories, has been the most successful jockey in the Sussex Stakes history, enjoying his first win on Marconigram in 1928 and final one on Agitator in 1952. Richards, who was knighted in 1953, made the Sussex Stakes almost his own from 1946 through to 1952, winning the mile contest five times in seven runnings.
Goodwood has played host to some equally impressive horses, jockeys and races since then, and this year is looking forward to seeing how two of The Glorious Five fare in The Qatar Sussex Stakes: Kameko and Siskin.
The most glamorous day of the Qatar Goodwood Festival is Ladies’ Day, where horseracing and fashion collide. The ladies’ amateur jockey race, the Magnolia Cup, will get the day off to an impressive start featuring 12 fearless women, and has previously supported charities dedicated to helping women and children.
The prestigious Group 1 Qatar Nassau Stakes is the highlight of the eight-race card, worth £600,000. It was first run in 1840 and was named in recognition of the friendship between the fifth Duke of Richmond and the Dutch Royal Family, the House of Orange and Nassau. Previous winners include Ouija Board, Midday and Minding.
This year, Deirdre is one of The Glorious Five to watch in the Qatar Nassau Stakes.
The £300,000 Group 2 King George Qatar Stakes is one of the highlights of the year – taken in 2019 by the hugely progressive Battaash. Battaash is one of The Glorious Five to watch in this year’s race.
A showcase for raw speed, this prestigious sprint was introduced in 1911 to mark the previous year’s succession of King George V to the British throne. The G2 King George Qatar Stakes is Goodwood’s top sprint and in 2002 was named the King George 200th Anniversary Stakes to celebrate 200 years of racing at Goodwood.
The £250,000 Unibet Stewards’ Cup takes centre stage for the final day of the Qatar Goodwood Festival. Previous winners of this iconic sprint include Lochsong, Dancing Star and 2019’s winner Khaadem. The six-furlong cavalry charge of the Unibet Stewards Cup is a sight to behold, with over 20 sprinters thundering down the Goodwood straight. The Wine Tipster is looking forward to this hugely competitive race on the final day of the festival.
The first official staging of the Stewards’ Cup took place in 1840, but the name actually dates back to 1834 when the senior of the two stewards officiating at Goodwood awarded a cup worth about £100 to any race of his choosing. The chosen race varied year on year, with the Cup being contested over distances ranging from six furlongs to a mile and a half.
If you’re looking for ideas on how to celebrate Glorious Goodwood, why not read The Wine Tipster’s blog on #GloriousAtHome here.
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