Diary from the Downs: We’re ready to go at Goodwood

Stirring Ballad wins at Goodwood in 2012   Picture by Malcolm Wells
Stirring Ballad wins at Goodwood in 2012 Picture by Malcolm Wells

The start of the season has arrived! We open our gates on Saturday for the first time in 2014 and we can’t wait, writes Goodwood racecourse MD Adam Waterworth.

It’s been a long winter but it really feels like the time has come to crack on with a new season now.

The racecourse is looking a picture. The good weather of the past few weeks has really brought things on and greened up the place – we’re so much better off than this time last year in that respect.

We’ve done a lot of work across the site over the winter, including a revamp of the ground-floor area in the Sussex Stand and replacement of seats in the March Stand.

Entries for Saturday’s seven races are excellent – there are 123 in total across the seven races including some high-class horses.

We have two listed races – the Daisy Warwick Stakes and the Conqueror Stakes – plus a £25,000 handicap on the card.

It’s interesting to see Richard Hannon has entered Maureen in the Conqueror (4.05pm).

She was a highly-rated three-year-old who perhaps didn’t quite live up to expectations, but who could be in for a big year.

Stirring Ballad, trained by Andrew Balding, will be another one to watch in that race if she runs.

In our opening race, a one-mile, six-furlong handicap, it’s nice to see jump-racing trainers like Nicky Henderson and Alan King entering runners.

Their involvement always spices things up a bit and adds interest to the day.

I think we will have a number of horses running who have the potential to be back

Advance ticket sales have been strong – better than last year.

Normally for this fixture we’d expect a total crowd of between 8,000 and 10,000 but for the past two years, the weather has been positively Siberian.

With kinder temperatures this year we’d hope to be close to the 10,000 mark.

With the ground a little on the soft side, it’ll be useful for the course to have a little break after this first meeting of the season.

Next up for us it’s the three-day May Festival, now in its third year, which we’re all looking forward to.

Then, before we know it, we’ll be talking about Glorious...

Elsewhere on Saturday, it’s the 2,000 Guineas at Newmarket and I’d love to see Toormore win. He won our Richmond Stakes last year and could come to use for the Sussex Stakes if he wins this. Kingman is another who could come for the Sussex Stakes if he does well tomorrow.

ADAM WATERWORTH

Stick with this website and the Chichester Observer throughout the season for the best Goodwood racing coverage, including tips, previews, reports, pictures & reaction

Sports editor Steve Bone’s Goodwood tips: 1.45 Honourable Knight, 2.20 Magic Art, 2.55 Magic City, 3.30 Ajjaadd, 4.05 Zibelina, 4.40 Temptress, 5.10 High Master.