Goodwood bosses reflect on another truly Glorious week
The 2016 Qatar Goodwood Festival was another superb week of racing on the South Downs. Here, racecourse general manager Alex Eade and clerk of the course Seamus Buckley give their verdict on the festival.
You can see further reflections on Glorious, including a picture special from Ladies’ Day, in the Chichester Observer, out now.
It’s been an excellent week. We got lucky with the weather in some respects - we had one bad on Ladies’ Day but even that wasn’t too bad.
The racing was superb - as many entries as anyone can remember, so many runners on the track and every race ended up being a competitive, hard-fought affair and that’s really great to have been part of.
We’ve had close finishes in a lot of the big races. I think the Sussex Stakes was the mile race of the season so far - easily - and it was great to see Big Orange battling on to win the Goodwood Cup.
It feels like it was a punter-friendly week - a lot of favourites winning - but they’ve only just won, so it’s been a fantastic spectacle as well as pleasing for punters.
I’m hoping everyone who came to watch had a fantastic week. From my point of view as general manager of the racecourse, it’s gone really well.
It’s always a challenge and it’s a process of continuous improvement. You’re never happy with everything and if you are, you ought to move on and find something else.
There will be a few things we will change for next year but first we have a few more race meetings this season to look forward to. We’re already thinking of the August bank holiday festival, which includes the Celebration Mile.
We will do a post-Qatar festival debrief and take on board all feedback from customers and from around the business itself and then we sit down and digest it all and start writing the plan for next year.
I’m lucky that I was able to see quite a bit of the racing myself. I always watch the first race of the day up in the stewards’ box and I probably watched the majority of races - I think I must have known how compelling they were likely to be this year so didn’t want to miss out!
It was a great week. The weather was a little unkind on Thursday and on Saturday before racing.
But we had a record number of entries - 1,173 for the whole week. That’s an amazing number of runners and we had some amazing racing from them. Quantity leads to quality.
We did have a problem one day on one of the bends when one horse slipped slightly. We had no fallers but we had to rectify that and we did, and we got through the week without too many problems.
But in my job we go from race to race - you’re only as good as your last race.
But there was some really good racing. Ryan Moore’s riding throughout the week was outstanding. He was on the crest of a wave.
Big Orange’s win in the Goodwood Cup was a very good performance. I love the longer-distance races.
And the Stewards’ Cup was excellent. It was a good week for favourites so the bookies won’t be too happy.
The sprinter who broke the track record was outstanding too.
I think it’s been one of the best festivals I’ve been here for - a nice way for me to mark 50 years in racing.
The grounds team here have worked very hard. We have had to do night watering because it was so hot during the day.
We set off on Tuesday with the going stick on 8.1 and we’ve gone through the week and ended up on Saturday on 8.1 as well. So to achieve that is outstanding by the lads.
I might have half a day off now.
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