In The Spotlight: All you need to know about Goodwood Racecourse

Enda McElhinney
LiveScore
Goodwood Racecourse hosts 19 meetings annually
Goodwood Racecourse hosts 19 meetings annually

Goodwood Racecourse on the Sussex Downs is dubbed 'the most beautiful racecourse in the world' with good reason.

With over 200 years of illustrious history, it truly is one of the pearls in the British racing crown.

About the location

Situated near Chichester in West Sussex, the vast Goodwood Estate is a 12,000-acre site and is the seat of the Duke of Richmond. 

It is home to, among other things, motor racing's Goodwood Festival of Speed and Goodwood Racecourse. 

Goodwood is a Flat racing only track and hosts 19 meetings annually between April-October, with the highlight being the five-day Glorious Goodwood Festival in late July. 

About the racecourse 

Goodwood is a course with plenty of unique elements to it. Courtesy of Racing Post
Goodwood is a course with plenty of unique elements to it. Courtesy of Racing Post

The track at Goodwood is right-handed with two bends. Races up to a mile and a quarter use the lower bend, while any race run over 1m3f or further use the top bend on the same part of the track. 

Marathon races over two miles and more — including the Group 1 Goodwood Cup — take one left-handed turn on a switchback, as Goodwood is quite unique in that the track runs out soon after the winning line. 

There is a five-furlong run-in from the top bend, while the pronounced downhill gradients ensure Goodwood is recognised as a sharp course, favouring prominent racers. 

The straight sprint track is one of the fastest in Britain. The quirky nature of it ensures hold-up horses are quite often in need of some good fortune in running. 

With its stunning views over the Sussex Downs and out to sea on the South Coast of England, Goodwood is one of Britain's most unique and treasured courses. 

Famous races 

Alcohol Free won the 2021 Sussex Stakes at Glorious Goodwood
Alcohol Free won the 2021 Sussex Stakes at Glorious Goodwood

Despite its somewhat unique layout, Goodwood is host to one of Britain's flagship summer meetings — the Glorious Goodwood Festival in late July. 

The five-day meeting is home to multiple Group 1 events and is covered extensively on terrestrial television. 

Among the feature races is the Sussex Stakes, sometimes billed as the 'Duel on the Downs', which frequently sees the best three-year-old milers take on the best older horses for the first time in their careers. 

The Goodwood Cup is a key race in the stayers series and now enjoys Group 1 status as part of the Stayers' Triple Crown, alongside the Ascot Gold Cup (June) and the Doncaster Cup (September). 

The Nassau Stakes is a Group 1 for fillies and mares over a mile and a quarter and, once more, can pit the Classic generation against older horses often for the first time.

Finally, the closing day of the meeting is headlined by the Stewards' Cup — one of the most competitive sprint handicaps in the calendar. 

Away from the high summer frivolity, Goodwood also stages an early-season three-day meeting in May and another three-day event in late August, the latter being highlighted by the Group 2 Celebration Mile. 

Enclosures 

Goodwood has three fantastic sections from which racegoers can enjoy the fun of raceday — the Richmond, Gordon and Lennox enclosures. 

The Richmond Enclosure offers the best views directly opposite the winning post and parade ring, while also featuring stylish restaurants and the Seafood Bar and Lawn, which has a strict stylish dress code in place. 

The Gordon Enclosure is more relaxed with parade ring access and standing viewing from within the March Grandstand, covered seating within the Sussex Stand and beautiful views of the racing from near the winning post. 

The Earl's Lawn provides a hub of raceday entertainment, with music and delicious food, particularly during Glorious Goodwood. 

The Lennox, meanwhile, is very popular with families and boasts a large children's playground and lots of grassy picnic areas alongside the racecourse.

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