The Guide to Glorious Goodwood
The Glorious Goodwood Festival of Speed is one of the major annual flat racing meetings in the UK attracting all-star talent due to the fact that it runs six weeks after Royal Ascot.
The action is spread out over several major races – all contested over various distances during the five-day festival in West Sussex.
Knowing the Layout
The racing surface layout at Goodwood is as quirky as any you'll find in a place that only hosts flat racing. The layout somewhat resembles an L-shape with two very tight loops forcing contenders to head back towards the winning post on the eastern side of the course.
Their 6f track is nearly straight with an oddly-angled rail and slightly uphill over the first furlong. The actual run-in towards the finishing post slopes downhill.
Knowing the lay-out of your race is important as horses with a bit of experience navigating these loops tend to do a little better than rookies over the surface.
The Stewards Cup Course is the straight-ish 6f course while the 1m2f contests unfold over the Craven Course. The Gratwicke Course plays host to the 1m4f races while the Bentinck Course is 1m6f. The longest course is the Cup Course that is a massive 2m5f.
It can get very foggy at Goodwood thanks to its proximity to the coastline, as such racing can be interfered with during certain parts of the year based on the overhead conditions.
Goodwood Racecourse doesn't host as many racedays as a number of other courses do but it boasts a number of extremely high-profile contests with the bulk of them centered during its five-day showpiece in July. More than 100,000 people attend Glorious Goodwood every year and it is renown as the place to see and be seen.
A Massive Five Days
The opening days action at Glorious Goodwood is usually the lowest-profile day of racing but there is still lots to like about day one. The Group 3 Gordon Stakes is contested while the Group 2 Lennox Stakes also boasts a talented field and is a major test for three-year-olds and up going 7f.
Day two at Glorious Goodwood plays host to the Group 1 Sussex Stakes – one of the major races of the festival and is widely-viewed as one of the premier 1m contests that unfold in Britain each year.
The race was established way back in 1841 but has been run in its present form since 1975 when it was opened up to older horses. A win here has installed a number of popular horses as the leading milers of their respective generations.
Day three of Glorious Goodwood is Ladies' Day and is generally considered the most stylish day to be on course. Needless to say, many of the races are contested by fillies and mares with the Group 3 Lillie Langtry Stakes, a 1m6f staying contest for ladies, being a hotly-contested race. The Goodwood Cup also unfolds on ladies day and always draws considerable betting volume.
Day four of Glorious Goodwood plays host to a pair of crowd favourites – the 6f Richmond Stakes where two-year-old colts and geldings contest a run down the straight course. The Golden Mile is the other major contest on the fourth day of action at Goodwood.
The penultimate day of the Glorious Goodwood Festival of Speed, there are few days with more prominent stakes races unfolding. One of the major features is the Steward's Cup, which features a massive 28 runners going 6f. The 1m4f Glorious Stakes is a Group 3 race that attracts top globetrotters who tend to enjoy longer distances. The Group 3 Oak Tree Stakes is a prominent 7f contest for fillies and mares.
Betting on the races at Glorious Goodwood can be a tough experience for many new punters because of the unconventional course set up and the fact that there are a number of contests with large field for relatively unproven contenders.
There is usually plenty of value on offer here though and it is a great opportunity to back some longer-odds contenders thanks to the lack of a discernable bias over the surface and the fact that many runners don't have much practice here.