Glorious Goodwood was once famously described by King Edward VII as a garden party with racing tacked on. Formal racing first began in 1802, and has continued ever since with many new races being added over the years. Although the event is one of the most important in the flat horse racing calendar, the quality of the races (as can be seen from the list below) is not a high as with other race meetings, thus it is better known as a social occasion, held each year in late July for five days.
Although the dress code is not as strict as other horse racing events, men are still required to wear a jacket and tie, cravat or polo neck sweater in the Richmond Enclosure. The dress code for the Lennox and Gorden Enclosures are less formal, but bare tops and fancy dress are still not permitted. Goodwood racecourse is located high on the Sussex Downs, and due to its outstanding views of the Solent it is viewed by many as one of the most beautiful racecourses in the world.
The racecourse at Goodwood, the Stewards’ Cup Course, is unusually complex. It consists of six straight furlongs which is uphill for the first furlong and then runs downhill for the rest. As the course is used for flat racing only, there are no jumps. The racecourse is owned by the Duke of Richmond, and is located in the grounds of Goodwood House.
There are seven races held on each of the five days of Glorious Goodwood. The features races of the event are:
The Goodwood Cup
This is a Group 2 flat horse race for three year old and above thoroughbreds that is run over a distance of 2 miles. Unusually, there are no starting stalls as the horses begin near the finishing post. This race is part of the British Stayers’ Triple Crown, which is a test of endurance over long distances.
This is a Group 3 flat race, again for three year old and above thoroughbreds, but this time it is run over a distance of 1 mile and 4 furlongs. It was named after the title of the Duke of Gordon, which is one of the titles held by the Duke of Richmond, who owns the racecourse.
The King George Stakes
This is another Group 3 flat race for three year old and above thoroughbreds, but this race is exceptionally short being run over only 5 furlongs. It is named after King George V who was crowned the same year as the first one took place.
The Lennox Stakes
This race is still a short race, being run over only 7 furlongs, but is a Group 2 race for three year old and above thoroughbreds. This is a relatively new race as it was first run in 2000, taken by Observatory.
The Lillie Langtry Fillies’ Stakes
This is another slightly longer race, being run over 1 mile and 6 furlongs, and is a Group 3 flat race for thoroughbred fillies and mares. It was initially run in 2003 as a listed race, but was upgraded to a Group 3 race in 2004.
The Molecomb Stakes
This is a Group 3 flat race for thoroughbreds aged two years, run over a distance of 5 furlongs. It is one of the older races at Glorious Goodwood, being first run in 1829.
The Nassau Stakes
This is a Group 1 flat race for thoroughbred fillies and mares aged three years and above, run over 1 mile, 1 furlong and 192 yards. When the race was first run in 1840 it was restricted to fillies only, but this was lifted in 1975 when mares were included also.
The Oak Tree Stakes
This is Group 3 flat race for thoroughbred fillies and mares run over 7 furlongs. The race originated as a Listed race but was promoted in 2004 to having Group 3 status. The race has also had many names since it was first run in 1980, many of which have been influenced by events in the Royal Family’s calendar.
The Richmond Stakes
This Group 2 race is reserved for thoroughbred colts and geldings who are aged two years. It is run over a distance of 6 furlongs, and is a good sign of future Derby winners.
The Stewards’ Cup
The Stewards’ Cup is one of the leading sprint handicap races in Europe, and is one of the main highlights of the Glorious Goodwood festival. It is a flat race for thoroughbreds aged three years or above, run over 6 furlongs. It was described by Peter Bromley as one of the hardest races to commentate on due to the ferocity of the racing.
The Sussex Stakes
This is one of the only other Group 1 races held at Glorious Goodwood. Although it was originally for two year old thoroughbreds, this was later increased to three year olds, then four year olds in 1960 and, more recently, in 1975 to five year olds.
The Vintage Stakes
This relatively new race, first run in 1975, is a Group 2 race for two year old thoroughbreds run over 7 furlongs, and again has often been a predictor of future Derby Winners.