GLORIOUS Goodwood is well on course to welcome more than 100,000 race-goers – and could exceed the figure by several thousand.
Settled weather and a stellar set of entries for all the big races during the five-day festival has seen interest soar.
Tuesday’s crowd was 13,167 – up by about 500 on last year’s opening-day figure.
Yesterday’s QIPCO Sussex Stakes attracted a huge audience and the trend is set to continue at Ladies’ Day today and for the final two days of Glorious.
Today is already a sell-out in the Gordon Enclosure while Saturday’s tickets for the same area were all snapped up in record time.
Friday could go the same way in the Gordon Enclosure and race-goers are being advised to book in advance if they’re planning to go that day. It all adds up to what could be the biggest total crowd for the week for several years.
Goodwood racecourse managing director Adam Waterworth is delighted by the way the week has begun and confident it will continue in the same vein.
Speaking as crowds gathered for yesterday’s latest ‘Duel on the Downs’ – the £300,000 Sussex Stakes showdown between Kingman and Toronado, Waterworth said: “I thought Tuesday was a great day.
“The weather was brilliant, the racecourse looked fantastic and the racing was very, very good.
“We perhaps didn’t see the winners we expected to see but sometimes unpredictable results can add to the fun of the day. And it was great to see the size of the crowd, up on last year.
“Having said that, Mark Johnston won the first race and with his record at the festival down the years. you can’t say that was a surprise.
“Richard Hannon and Richard Hughes didn’t have any joy on the first day, as had been expected, but you’d expect them to come good.”
Waterworth said he was delighted for connections of Tuesday’s two Group-race winners – Cotai Glory in the bet365 Molecomb Stakes and Es Que Love in the bet365 Lennox Stakes – and said race-goers would now watch with interest to see if the pair could go on to record further big-race success.
Looking ahead to the rest of the week, course bosses reckon today’s Artemis Goodwood Cup will be one of the highlights of the whole festival.
It has an impressive line-up, headed by The Queen’s runner Estimate and last year’s winner Brown Panther, bred and part-owned by ex-England footballer Michael Owen.
But there are plenty of other keenly-anticipated contests to come and horses to see.
Waterworth said: “The Goodwood Cup could turn into one of the events of the week.
“It’s lovely that we have a royal runner, while Michael Owen is here for the week and will be keen to repeat his success of last year.
“Another one to watch today will be Ivawood, the Richard Hannon two-year-old who is due to run in the Richmond Stakes.
“He’s a stunning two-year-old and I’d advise people to get to the paddock if they can to have a look at him.”
Friday’s highlights include the Betfred Mile and no fewer than four Group races, while Saturday brings the curtain down on the festival with the usual double bill of the Nassau Stakes and the Stewards’ Cup – the latter this year called the 32Red Cup.
For ticket enquiries for the rest of the week, call 01243 216610.