The good news for flat-racing fans is: Winter is over.
And that means they’re under starter’s orders ready for the first meeting of the ne season at Goodwood.
It takes place this Saturday and an eight-race card begins at 1.50pm and features two listed races.
It had been due to be a seven-race programme but entries are up by 20 per cent – there are 95 runners in total for the afternoon – and the final contest, Betfred Celebrating 50 Years of Success Handicap Stakes, has been divided into two races.
The Betfred TV EBF Stallions’ Daisy Warwick Stakes at for fillies and mares is due at 2.05 and is one of two races to be shown live on ITV.
The day’s other listed race, also for fillies and mares, follows at 3.50pm – the Betfred Watch Sky Sports in Our Shops Conqueror Stakes.
Most of the top trainers are sending runners to the Downs on Saturday and race-goers will be able to look out for some early-season pointers to form for when the bigger meetings come along.
The season opener doubles up as a chance for people to find out about the other sports available on the Goodwood estate.
Around the racecourse stands and public areas will be demonstrations devoted to golf, motorsport and aviation, with the respective teams on hand to show what they can offer.
Goodwood punters will also be keeping en eye on the day’s big race at Newmarket, the 2000 Guineas, which often offers a few contenders for the Qatar Sussex Stakes.
The two races are run over the same distance and were among those the legendary Frankel conquered in his three-year-old season in 2011.
A crowd of around 10,000 is hoped for at Goodwood, where you can buy in advance or pay on the day.
Sports editor Steve Bone’s tips: 1.35 Art of Swing, 2.05 Dubka, 2.40 Lightning Charlie, 3.15 Vibrant Chords, 3.50 Intimation, 4.25 Queen of Time, 5.00 Dominating, 5.30 Star Maker.
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