The Goodwood Festival – popularly known as ‘Glorious Goodwood’, which also avoids confusion with the motorsport event known as the ‘Goodwood Festival of Speed’ – is a five-day meeting staged annually, in late July or early August, at Goodwood Racecourse in West Sussex in the South of England. Goodwood Racecourse, set against the backdrop of the rolling hills of the South Downs, is widely considered one of the most beautiful racecourses in the world so, with five days of action on offer, Glorious Goodwood is a major horse racing and social event.
The feature race on day one, the Tuesday, is the Goodwood Cup, run over 2 miles and open to horses aged three years and upwards. Traditionally the second leg of the Stayers’ Triple Crown, between the Gold Cup and the Doncaster Cup, the Goodwood Cup became part of the British Champion Series Long Distance Category in 2011 and was promoted to Group 1 status in 2017, at which time its prize money was increased to £500,000.
The feature race on day two, the Sussex Stakes, is run over a mile and open to horses aged three years and upwards. It is, in fact, the first race of the season in which the three-year-olds and the older horses clash over a mile at the highest level and is, quite rightly, part of the British Champion Series Mile Category. The subject of several key head-to-head rivalries in recent years, such as that between Frankel and the defending champion, Canford Cliffs, in 2011, the Sussex Stakes is often billed, but doesn’t always necessarily deliver, as the “Duel on the Downs”. Nevertheless, with prize money of £1 million, the Sussex Stakes is one of the highlights of the British Flat racing calendar.
The Thursday, a.k.a. Ladies’ Day, also has a prestigious Group 1 contest as its feature race, in this case the Nassau Stakes, run over 1 mile 1 furlong and 197 yards and open to fillies and mares aged three years and upwards. Worth £600,000 in prize money, The Nassau Stakes is part of the British Champion Series Fillies & Mares Category. Marginally less prestigious, but no less competitive or exciting, the feature races on Friday and Saturday, respectively, are the Group 2 King George Stakes, over 5 furlongs, and the Stewards’ Cup, over 6 furlongs.