Frankel news is a boost as Goodwood gears up for opener

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Goodwood boss Adam Waterworth has been boosted by good news from the Frankel camp which keeps alive his hopes of staging what could be one of the greatest races of the century.

The flat-racing champion has been given the all-clear after suffering tendon damage during a routine run on the gallops.

The scare led to some rumours Frankel would be retired, which were quickly shot down by Teddy Grimthorpe, racing manager to owner Prince Khalid Abdullah.

Frankel is doubtful for Newbury’s Lockinge Stakes in May but he will be back for Royal Ascot in June.

That keeps alive Goodwood’s hopes Frankel will go head-to-head with a fellow unbeaten champion, Australian-based Black Caviar, in a £1m Sussex Stakes showdown at Glorious Goodwood on August 1 in the race he won so well last year.

Waterworth said: “I think everyone in racing was hoping Frankel recovers and stays in training. We hoped so, whether he runs at Goodwood or not. No-one wanted to see him retired.

“But whether we can attract Frankel and Black Caviar for our festival remains to be seen.

“We felt we could offer the most realistic opportunity for them to meet and have done what we can, along with race sponsors QIPCO, to make it happen. Now we just have to wait.”

With Goodwood’s May 5 season opener only 16 days away, the racecourse is a hive of activity as major bar refurbishments and other sprucing-up projects near completion.

Waterworth said: “We’re on schedule to have it looking fantastic for the first meeting and certainly the track is looking in fine condition.

“Although we’ve not had a huge amount of rain, we’ve not had to do much watering as yet – though we may need to water before racing if it continues to be largely dry.”

Goodwood’s May programme is shaping up well, with a couple of listed races on the card for that first meeting and then the new three-day festival on May 24, 25 and 26.

That will see the Height of Fashion Stakes on the Thursday, the Cocked Hat Stakes on the Friday and two listed races on the Saturday.

Ticket sales for the season are ahead of last year and have been boosted by the May festival plans and the announcement of the DJ acts who will star at the three Friday nights in June.

See this week’s (April 19) Observer for an in-depth feature on the DJ nights and the people who make them happen.

STEVE BONE