Suddenly, the summer is behind us and we’ve only two meetings left before our season ends.
You have mixed feelings at this time - there’s sadness that we’ll soon have a long winter ahead of us with no racing until next spring and relief that another season has run successfully.
Since my last Diary from the Downs, we’ve had our August Festival and apart from the weather on the Friday night and the Saturday being pretty awful, it was a success.
The quality of racing was strong and we were relieved when the sun came out for the family day on the Sunday - that was probably the day we needed the weather the most.
The poor weather has been a theme of our season - but then it has for everyone this year, and things could have been worse for us. We lost just one early-season card to rain, and did have five dry days of racing during Glorious, even if the weather didn’t live up to the name of the festival.
The only meetings that have had warm sunshine have been the May Festival and our Tuesday meeting a couple of weeks back.
But despite a poor summer and factors like the Olympics, we feel we’ve held our own and put on a good season’s racing.
It’s not over yet, of course. We’ve two strong afternoons of action to come - one this Wednesday (Sept 26), then the season finale on Sunday, October 14.
This week our feature race is the listed Foundation Stakes, and we also have a handicap in which we are hopeful Goodwood Atlantis - owned by the Goodwood Racehorse Owners’ Group - will bid to follow up the fabulous run we saw from him at Glorious.
We’re repeating our offer this week of cheap (£10) admission to the Gordon Enclosure for local racegoers, those who live in the PO postcode area. We had a good take-up on that a fortnight agao and anyone who wants to take advantage needs to call the ticket office (01243 755055) or visit our website.
On October 14, we will have our annual National Hunt jockeys’ race - it’s a rare chance for them to ride at Goodwood and they love it.
One theme of our final couple of meetings will be the race for the Dick Hern Trophy, which is presented to our leading trainer for the season.
Normally, Richard Hannon has it sewn up long before now but this year he has a rival - Mark Johnston is leading the standings with a couple of races to go, and I think it’s fair to say it’s a title that both of them will be trying hard to win.
Talking of top trainers, I’d like to pass on the best wishes of everyone at Goodwood to John Dunlop, who has announced his retirement after an incredible 46 years as a trainer.
It’s a real end of an era - one in which he has kept Sussex at the forefront of racing with so many winners, including 10 English classics. He has also retired as a director of the racecourse and will be very, very hard to replace.
His wins this season with the likes of Times Up at York and Doncaster show he is still a superb trainer.
Finally, as a former Doncaster racecourse MD, I can’t let the column end without saying how disappointed I was for everyone up there, and the sponsors Ladbrokes, that Camelot’s triple crown bid didn’t come off in the St Leger.
It showed it takes a very special horse to win Classics at the three different distances - I hope it doesn’t put others off trying.
It’s also worth noting that in Encke and Michelangelo, we have had the St Leger first and third running at Goodwood this season.
* See tips for Wednesday’s racing, and a report on the action, on this website on the day.