Goodwood Racecourse Guide

Guide to Goodwood Racecourse

Goodwood Racecourse News from Eclipse

About Goodwood Racecourse

Flat

Location

Situated high on the stunning South Downs, horseracing began at Goodwood in 1802, with the first running of a principal race, the Goodwood Cup, a decade later. The Duke of Richmond, who was the colonel of the Sussex Militia, established a Flat course on the Goodwood Estate, so his officers could continue their racing after the Earl of Egremont put a stop to it in nearby Petworth Park.

Improvements

The fifth Duke of Richmond did a great deal to improve the racecourse, including the building of a new grandstand for 3,000 people in 1830. Also in that year, the Stables, completed to the designs of Sir William Chambers for the third Duke of Richmond in 1761, housed some horses belonging to the Duke’s friend Lord George Bentinck.

The outstanding member of the Jockey Club of that era, Bentinck used this opportunity to also introduce many reforms at Goodwood that would later become common practice on other courses. As well as railing off a number of enclosures (including one for cigar smokers) he gave orders that the runners should parade in front of the stands. He then insisted the Starter wave a flag instead of simply shouting ‘go’. He also fined the Clerk of the Course if races started late and made sure every horse had a number on the racecard corresponding to that displayed on the board indicating the runners. Bentinck also set aside an area for the runners to be saddled and another to be unsaddled. This resulted in the Goodwood meeting being run far more efficiently than had ever been the case on any other course.

First Live Commentary

In 1947, Goodwood hosted the first BBC radio broadcast of a race meet, and became the first racecourse in the country to offer live commentary to racegoers via loudspeakers. Four year later Goodwood again hosted the BBC, to broadcast live horseracing on television for the first time.

Frankie Dettori

Top jockey Frankie Dettori has a special affinity with the West Sussex racecourse, having ridden his first British winner there – Lizzy Hare on 9th June 1987. He recalls: “I had my first British winner at Goodwood and I will never forget that day. Since then I have had many Glorious Goodwood winners so it has been a lucky track for me and holds a special place in my heart.”

Commenting on the track he says: “Apart from Epsom, Goodwood is the hardest track to ride because of the undulations, draw and big fields – you can get everything right or you can get everything wrong – you have to be on your wits.”

Goodwood Ownership

The racecourse is still owned by the Duke of Richmond family and the estate hosts an equally famous racing car track.

Important Races/Festivals

Directions

Goodwood Racecourse, Goodwood,
 West Sussex
 PO18 0PS.

  • Road: The course is about four miles north of Chichester and near the A27, A286 or the A285.
  • Rail: A bus takes racegoers to the course from Chichester Station on racedays.
  • Website: www.goodwood.co.uk
  • Telephone: Ticket Sales – 01243 755055.

The Goodwood Racecourse Directory - Local Services

Travelling to Goodwood Races? Want to know where to stay, where to eat, where to get your hair and nails done? How about where the best pubs are and the name of a reliable taxi? We can help. Check back frequently – this section is updated on a regular basis. 

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