Glorious Goodwood survives - but how will it look?

Glorious Goodwood has survived – though probably not as we know it.

Wednesday, 27th May 2020, 3:54 pm
Updated Wednesday, 27th May 2020, 3:56 pm
Glorious Goodwood will be staged in its usual place in the calendar, but will any crowds be allowed into see it? Picture: Getty

The centrepiece of the racecourse’s season will go ahead in its originally planned slot from July 28 to August 1.

But it will not be staged in front of crowds of close to 25,000 as usual – and it may be that no paying members of the public are allowed in at all.

The size of the event hangs on what sort of public gatherings the government is allowing by the end of July – and Goodwood bosses admit at the moment that is complete guesswork.

Having already lost their season opener, three-day May Festival and June Three Friday Nights music events, Goodwood officials are delighted they will soon be staging racing again.

A national fixture list for June, July and August published by the British Horseracing Authority inc-ludes afternoon racing at Goodwood on Sunday, June 14, and Monday 15, and the five days of Glorious, from Tuesday, July 28 to Saturday, August 1.

Also listed are Goodwood’s three consecutive days of racing at the end of August, from Friday 28 to Sunday 30.

Goodwood managing director of sport Adam Waterworth said the picture was changing all the time but it was great news racing was about to resume.

“What we know is we’ll be staging racing behind closed doors on June 14 and 15, and will be staging our five-day festival at the end of July and three days at the end of August.

“That’s because the plans we as a racecourse have put together to show we can stage racing safely have been signed off.

“What we don’t know yet is whether any sort of crowds will be allowed by late July.

“We are closely monitoring what the government is allowing and what will be allowed when, as everyone in sport is doing.

“If we find some sort of crowd is allowed at Glorious it could be quite a tight turnaround in terms of ticket sales, but we’ll be ready to deal with that.”

Waterworth said staging racing without the paying public present was far from ideal financially and he said the aim would be to cover costs through agreements with TV and online betting firms.

It’s not known yet when betting shops will reopen, a move that will free up another major income stream for racing.

Waterworth is hopeful the Glorious week programme will remain largely unchanged with all the big races, like the Qatar Sussex Stakes and Nassau Stakes featuring, albeit with less prie money.

Field sizes and quality should hold up and the return of Stradivarius and Battaash, bidding for fourth straight victories in the Goodwood Cup and King George Stakes respectively, is still on.

Nationally, racing resumes next Monday and everyone in the industry has been sent a detailed set of rules that must be followed to protect health.