Glorious Goodwood – GOODWOOD CUP (GROUP TWO)


  • Three-year-olds and up. Two miles. First run 1812. (Note: Group Two up to 1984; Group Three 1985–94; Group Two from 1995: race distance 3m 1812–16; no race 1815 and 1817 to 1824; 2m 1825–1832; 2m 5f 1833–1989; 2m 4f in 1990; two miles thereafter)

One of the oldest events in the Flat calendar, the Goodwood Cup was established in 1812 as a three-mile race. This year sees the 200th anniversary of the Goodwood Cup.  

The distance soon dropped back to two miles and five furlongs and in 1990 was reduced to two and a half miles due to the repositioning of the winning post. Following the Jockey Club’s review of staying races, the distance was further reduced to two miles in 1991 and remains at that trip. 

King George IV was successful with Fleur De Lis in 1829 but, when the horse returned 12 months later to win again, the monarch had passed away (26 June, 1830) and the owner was his brother, King William IV, who also had second and third, Zinganee and the Colonel. 

Fleur de Lis tried for three in a row in 1831 but she was beaten by Priam, who became the first Derby winner (1830) to win the Goodwood Cup. Priam, one of the best horses to race in the 19th century, took the Cup again in 1832.

There was plenty of interest in the race from France and Beggarman (1840), Jouvence (1853), Monarque (1857) and Flageolet (1973) all represented French interests, while Starke (1861) originated in America. Other great winners in the 19th century were the supremely tough and talented filly Virago (1854) and the unbeaten St
Simon (1884).

Also on the roll of honour is the great Hungarian-bred mare, Kincsem, successful in 1878 on her sole start in Britain. Kincsem was the outsider of three runners but she never appeared in danger of giving up an unbeaten run which stretched to 54 races on her retirement. She also won races in Austria, France and Germany as well as in Hungary.

Brown Jack, so good at Ascot, got on the Goodwood Cup roll of honour in 1930, while excellent performers
such as Alycidon (1949), the French-trained Pan (1951), Souepi (1953), Zarathustra (1956), Gladness (1958),
Trelawney (1963), Rock Roi (1971) and Erimo Hawk (1972) all succeeded. 

More recently, such champion stayers as Le Moss (1979 & 80), Ardross (1981), Double Trigger (1995/97/98), Kayf Tara (1999) and Yeats (2006 & 08) have triumphed.

The race was downgraded to Group Three from Group Two status for the 1986 running, despite the Ascot Gold Cup/Goodwood Cup double having been achieved five times from 1979 to 1984. In 1995, it deservedly regained Group Two status. that same year, the race was won by the remarkable Double Trigger, who went on to complete the stayers’ Triple Crown in the Doncaster Cup, having already taken the Ascot Gold Cup. 

He was the latest of five horses to succeed in all three races of the stayers’ Triple Crown. the other horses to achieve the feat were Isonomy (1879), Alycidon (1949), souepi (1953), Le Moss (1979 & 80), and Longboat (1986).

The Goodwood Cup is sandwiched between the Gold Cup over two and a half miles at Ascot in June and the Doncaster Cup over two and a quarter miles in September.

Double Trigger returned for a second Goodwood Cup victory in 1997 and created history with his third success
in 1998, becoming the only three-time winner of the race to great celebration. His trainer, Mark Johnston, also captured the race in 2000 with Ascot Gold Cup winner Royal Rebel, who came second in 2004 to stable companion Darasim.

Kayf Tara, the 1998 and 2000 Ascot Gold Cup winner, put up a dazzling display in 1999 to give Frankie Dettori his first success in the Goodwood race. 

Persian Punch, one of the most popular stayers of recent times, proved too good for his 11 rivals in 2001 and returned to claim victory again in the 2003 renewal, beating 2002 winner Jardines Lookout, who had been a rare three-year-old scorer, when rallying to get up by a short-head. Aged 10, that victory, which sent the large crowd into raptures, saw the front-running Persian Punch become the oldest horse ever to win the Goodwood Cup. 

The wonderful campaigner, so game in his races, ran six times in total in the Goodwood Cup. He was also third, fifth twice and last. His ashes were scattered near the winning post at Goodwood soon after his demise in 2004. 

Yeats was without doubt one of the greatest stayers of the modern era with an unprecedented four Ascot Gold 
Cup triumphs to his name and the Aidan O’Brien-trained champion was imperious in winning a second Goodwood Cup in 2008, having first triumphed in 2006. 

The filly Allegretto was successful from 14 rivals in 2007 and she ended that year by winning a Group One event in France, while Schiaparelli, owned like Kayf Tara by Godolphin, stepped up to two miles for the first time at Goodwood in 2009 after taking four Group Ones at 12 furlongs, won well and subsequently captured another Group One. 

Goodwood specialist Illustrious Blue took the 2010 renewal for local trainer William Knight, who is based at Angmering Park near Arundel. the seven-year-old had scored at Goodwood six times previously, from seven to 12 furlongs. 

Godolphin enjoyed a third Goodwood Cup victory in 2011 with the Mahmood Al Zarooni-trained Opinion Poll, one of the top stayers of the year, who also triumphed in York’s Lonsdale Cup and was second in the Gold Cup at Ascot, the Doncaster Cup and the QIPCO British Champions Long Distance Cup. 

Lester Piggott (Gladness (1958), Exar (1960), Proverb (1974), Girandole (1975), Ardross (1981)) and Pat Eddery (Erimo Hawk (1972), Valuable Witness (1985), Mazzacano (1989), Sonus (1993), Grey Shot (1996)) both partnered five winners of the Goodwood Cup, while more recently Mick Kinane enjoyed four successes. In earlier times, Jem Robinson, George Fordham and steve Donoghue also achieved five Goodwood Cup triumphs. 

The most successful trainer since 1946 was Cecil Boyd-Rochfort with six victories, while Barry Hills and Mark Johnston have five wins each. John Scott’s record of saddling the winner seven times came through Hornsea (1836), Carew (1837), Charles The Twelfth (1841 & 1842), Canezou (1849 & 1850) and Sweetsauce (1860). 

The age of the winners since 1946 has been: 3yo – 7; 4yo – 27; 5yo – 17; 6yo – 8; 7yo – 4; 8yo – 1; 9yo – 1; 10yo – 1, while 34 out of the 66 winners started favourite. 

Artemis first sponsored the Goodwood Cup in 2010. 


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