A truly glorious week of racing awaits as we head to Glorious Goodwood for their marquee annual meeting which in my book only ranks second in quality to Royal Ascot. Five days of top class action sees some of the best horses in training line up and aim for big race glory aiming for some big pots courtesy of the whole meeting being sponsored by Qatar. It is the most quintessentially English with its garden-party atmosphere, panama hats, linen suits and picnic hampers accompanying the sight of amazing thoroughbreds battling it out in a charge for the finish line…. is a truly magical sight for not just racing fans but as a big part of the summer social calendar. In the rich history of the meeting we’ve had many memorable moments to look back on, and here’s our best three from Glorious Goodwood’s Hall of Fame.
Double Trigger Scoops Goodwood Cup For The Third Time:
Mark Johnston is renowned for training brave racehorses, but Double Trigger was one of the horses that most epitomised Johnston's style and this dour stayer was one of the elite of the division throughout the mid to late 1990s, and at 1998’s meeting he bagged his third Goodwood Cup. Having won the race in 1995 and 1996, the seven-year-old was at his resilient best in the 1998 renewal, as he set a fierce gallop from the outset, and duly fended off all-comers in the closing stages, to bag the hat-trick and it was left to Johnston to claim that Double Trigger was one of the best stayers there had ever been.
Brigadier Gerard Claims Sussex Stakes In Style :
Brigadier Gerard is a name that is still uttered with respect 40-odd years on from his retirement after a career that took in some of the biggest prizes available in Flat racing, and the Glorious Goodwood crowds were treated to his sheer brilliance as he landed the Sussex Stakes in 1971 with aplomb. Having already won the 2000 Guineas earlier in the season, he faced his stiffest test so far as he took on quality older horses, but Dick Hern's pride and joy defied his age and some inclement weather to saunter to a five-length victory, which propelled him into another stratosphere, as the racing public saw a superstar blossom in front of their eyes.
Frankel Oozes Class As He Downs Cliffs:
Having won the 2000 Guineas in dominant fashion, Frankel was quickly becoming a phenomenon and he put his unbeaten record on the line in the 2011 Sussex Stakes, where he would do battle with the older, more experienced and reigning champion Canford Cliffs, who was classed as the dominant older miler in the Flat division. However, Frankel was to light up Glorious Goodwood, as Sir Henry Cecil's legend cruised upsides Canford Cliffs with a couple of furlongs to go before showing a blistering turn of foot to bound clear and enhance his already lofty reputation.
One of the highlights of last year’s meeting was French raider Solow scooping the Group 1 Sussex Stakes ahead of the hotly fancied Ballydoyle charge Cougar Mountain and Qatari owned Arod. The stand out grey put in a bold showing to claim the big race of the meeting and prove that his previous big race successes were far from a fluke.
The unique switchback course consists of a lightening fast straight six furlong course which has a slight incline at the start but then is all downhill to the winning post. The 5 furlong course is one of the quickest in the country and races can be lost at completely at the start if you are slowly away. Courses over further distances are uphill to start but then all have this downhill finish.With it’s undulations and the sharp downhill finish means that the course tends to suit nippy well balanced horses rather than long striding gallopers.
The Draw Bias:
On the straight course (5/6f) middle to high draws have historically had an advantage in big fields, however after changes to the courses watering system this bias is not as quite as strong as it used to be. Over 7f there was a very strong high draw bias but Goodwood moved the far rail in meaning that the fastest strip of ground was not used. Over 1m it was a similar story although the one race where a high draw bias continues to be strong is in the Totesport Mile (formerly known as the Golden Mile). The race is run on the Friday of the Glorious Goodwood meeting and the far rail is pushed back out to its old position. For races run over further than a mile there is no real draw bias to talk about. Horses that race prominently hold a significant advantage... especially in big fields in races over 7 furlongs or more, as the tight nature of the track and the strong pace of racing make it difficult to come from the back as you lose a lot of ground coming wide. With only one day of mild rain forecast and the weather expected to stay relatively sunny all week we can expect the ground to be on the fast side for this year’s showpiece festival.
Hot Trainers to Note:
As we approach the meeting key trainers that are currently running in a hot streak of form who are firing in the winners left, right and centre recently are Hughie Morrison, Richard Hughes (who rode this course as a jockey better than anyone else), James Tate and Ismail Mohammed. They all have hit a 30%+ strike rate over the past two weeks. As they are less fashionable stables there may well be some value to be found following their runners. A a couple of better known trainers well worth noting as they target this meeting with large teams of their best horses and traditionally post a level stakes profit with their runners, are the top yards of Richard Hannon and Mark Johnston, so it’s well worth keeping a sharp eye on their entries.
No matter where your money is going to go and what horses you’re looking to back you’ll be in for a treat and racing fans should be prepared for some of the best racing the world has to offer. With a total of thirteen group races over five days you won’t want to miss a thing. We’ll be back in a couple of days with an in depth look at the festival’s big betting races to give you an informed view and help make your punting more profitable.
The Team at Cleeve