Goodwood bosses stick to winning formula - but look to improve it

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. That’s the mantra of Goodwood bosses as they prepare for a flat-racing season broadly the same as it has been for a few years.

Once again the Downs will host 19 meetings between May and October, with Glorious Goodwood and two three-day festivals interspersed with the Three Friday Nights and five other fixtures.

They're hoping for sunshine and large crowds at Goodwood / Picture by Malcolm Wells

They're hoping for sunshine and large crowds at Goodwood / Picture by Malcolm Wells

Racecourse manager Alex Eade said the team were busy preparing for the season, which starts on May 4.

“There was a lot of change last year, with the new champagne bar, building work inside the March Grandstand and quite a lot of new features,” he said.

“But this year we’re doing less. The champagne bar will still feel new but it’s not going to be handed over to us the day before festival week!

“It’s exciting to see those features working now they’ve bedded in. We had amazing feedback. The champagne bar was full for all five days of the festival.

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“People loved it and the fact that it’s raised so you have a really good view over the course and over the sea. It completes works started 20-25 years ago.”

Eade said the flow of the fixture list remained deliberately unchanged with Glorious, the three-day May and August festivals and June’s Friday Nights complemented by one-off fixtures.

“We think it works – fixtures sit nicely throughout the season and don’t put too much strain on the turf, which is a big issue,” he said.

“The fixture list fits nicely with the bank holidays and people’s summer holidays.

“The May Festival will still act as trials for the Derby meeting at Epsom while off the track it will be themed around food and celebrating local producers.

The chef from the Ritz is coming back and we’re hoping to have a couple of celebrity chefs doing some live demonstrations and cooking in some of the restaurants.

“The Three Friday Nights will feature some pretty amazing acts. Two out of three sold out last year and the other very nearly did. Three sell-out nights is our aim and we were close last year.

“We have the Sunday family in June – there’ll be the funfair on the racecourse and behind-the-scenes tours. And the August weekend is another great time for families, with the Saturday a top-class day.”